People living in Seongju, in southeast South Korea, aren’t at all happy that authorities are planning to install an American anti-ballistic missile defense system near their town. On Sunday, dozens of them joined forces to block a bridge leading to the site. Known as (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence), this project is meant to thwart North Korean missiles. But residents of Seongju say that, on the contrary, this installation will make them a target.
On April 22, about 200 people tried to block Jinbat bridge, which leads to the site. After a few hours, they were dispersed by police officers, large numbers of whom were deployed around the site -- about 3,000, according to local media. About a dozen people sustained minor injuries in the altercation.
In a video shared on social media, you can see protesters trying to hang off the bridge with a ladder while police officers below put out inflatable mattresses in the hope of breaking any eventual falls.
Sur ces images, des policiers ont déployé des matelas gonflables de crainte que des manifestent se jettent par-dessus le pont.
These images show police officers setting up inflatable mattresses in case any of the protesters throw themselves or fall off the bridge.
This protest took place a few days before an unprecedented meeting between the South Korean president Moon Jae-In and his North Korean counterpart. The meeting, set for April 27, is supposed to mark a reduction in tensions between the two countries.
A controversial project since it was announced in 2016
In July 2016, this town in southeast South Korea was selected to host an American anti-ballistic missile defence system known as THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence), meant to intercept North Korean missiles.
This is not the first time that residents around Seongju have protested against the new American missile defence system that is set to be built near their homes.
Since the project was launched in 2016, some local officials shaved their heads in protest.
The Korean Minister of Defence declared on Monday, April 23 that the affair would be difficult to resolve through dialogue. So, construction started back up on Monday.