Civic groups plan massive anti-Moon rallies

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Civic groups plan massive anti-Moon rallies

Labor and progressive activists have announced plans for massive rallies later this month to protest the government’s national security decisions.

Some 200 civic groups, including the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and Korea Alliance for Progressive Movement, formed an alliance called Peace Movement and held a press conference to announce its launch Thursday morning. During the press conference, the alliance announced plans to hold rallies in central Seoul on Aug. 15, Liberation Day.

According to the Peace Movement, a main rally will be held at Seoul Plaza at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 15, with an estimated participation from 10,000 protesters. The participants will demand that the Moon Jae-in administration stop participating in U.S.-led sanctions on North Korea, stop Korea-U.S. joint military exercises and resume inter-Korean talks. They will also demand that Moon recant his latest decision to allow deployment of additional launchers for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system to counter the North’s latest launch of an ICBM.

The group said it will also make another attempt to surround the U.S. Embassy during the rally. This time, protesters will surround the U.S. Embassy and the nearby Japanese Embassy, the group said.

The protest will be similar to the event on June 24 when the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, for the first time in Korean history, was briefly surrounded by 3,000 protesters during their rally to demand the withdrawal of the Thaad system. The protesters created a human chain by holding hands and surrounded the embassy compound.

Police have already banned the protesters from marching near the embassy in their upcoming protest, but the group said they will file an injunction to the Seoul Administrative Court to fight the ban.

The activist groups also criticized the Moon administration during the press conference on Thursday, saying the administration called itself a “people-power government” and said it would take the driver’s seat on Korean Peninsula issues, but has failed to respect the people’s wish for peace. The activists said they will hold another press conference on Tuesday near the Blue House.

The progressives already expressed their disappointment toward the Moon administration. During an anti-Thaad rally on Sunday, participants complained about Moon’s policies. “The activist groups are feeling betrayed because the government is acting differently from their anticipations,” a civic group official said. “The complaints are destined to be sharp.”

BY HONG SANG-JI [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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