Going against the tideThe candlelight vigils that have gone on for six consecutive weeks have brought together people from all walks of life beyond ideology, age and background. They were united in one voice calling for the resignation of a shameful president. They are out to oust a leader who has gravely undermined the national pillar of democracy through peaceful means and to restore the Constitutional order of a democratic nation.
But some groups are attempting to ride on the social unrest for selfish needs and tainting the genuineness of the civilian assembly.
Members of former Unified Progressive Party that was outlawed by the Constitutional Court in late 2014 for plotting a rebellion on behalf of Pyongyang against South Korea have resurfaced. They joined the weekend rally in downtown Seoul with a banner calling for the release of Lee Seok-ki, their ringleader who was sentenced to nine years in jail for treason. Labor activists also were found among the crowd with banners and cries for release for their former union leader and abolishment of labor reform laws that are unrelated to the purpose of the rally.
Then there was Yoon Chang-joong, a former presidential spokesman who was fired for allegedly groping a woman in a Washington hotel during the president’s summit visit to the White House. He stood at the rally of conservatives supporting the president and condemned the candlelight vigils against the president.
Yoon even claimed his innocence that he would not be standing there if he had made an inappropriate approach at the time. A person who should be keeping a low-profile for shaming the country’s name has used the protest event for self-justification.
Every social assembly had been marred by illegal and violent forces. The purpose of the rally was often distorted and damaged by them.
These professional provokers are active again. Civilians have pushed them out and contained them to stay loyal to the purity of their rallies. The groups with dubious purposes should be humbled by genuine civilian power. They too could face public backlash if they are out to seek selfish goals through the civilian movement.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 6, Page 30
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