NYC Rally Against Missile Defense in South Korea

Anti-THAAD protest on 32nd Street on July 27 (Photo via Newsroh)

A group of Koreans and other New Yorkers rallied against the deployment of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) [a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea]. Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, the International Action Center, Veterans for Peace, Granny Peace Brigade and BAYAN-USA (an alliance of Filipino progressive groups) gathered for the protest, which was held on 32nd Street in Manhattan on July 27.

July 27 marked the 64th anniversary of the armistice agreement between North and South Korea. Participants insisted that “64 years of armistice is the biggest barrier, not only for Korea but also for Asia, toward peace. This fact has to be acknowledged and a peace treaty is needed now.”

The demonstrators held banners, written in Korean and English, that said: “No War”, “Make Peace”, “Stop deploying THAAD”. Children stuck drawings and messages such as “Do not give up hope” to the sidewalk. A big sign with butterflies, to signify peace, and “Stop THAAD!” written on it captured people’s attention.

“While we were heading to South Korea to take part in a demonstration against THAAD held in Seongju (where THAAD is being deployed), we were stopped from getting on the plane at LaGuardia Airport and told that our names were on the blacklist of the Korean government,” Juyeon Rhee, of Nodutdol, said. “THAAD must be removed from South Korea. It has stopped us from moving forward.”

One of the speakers said, “This spot is where people protested for the impeachment of former [Korean president] Park. Now, Park is in jail but THAAD, which was quickly approved by Park Geun-hye, is still hurting our land. THAAD, one of her misjudgments, has to be removed.” The speaker received applause.

Soo-Bok Kim, an activist for Korean reunification, said, “Korean immigrants and American organizations were united in their desire to get rid of the clouds of war on the Korean peninsula and call for peace.”

Bystanders seemed to agree on where the money should be spent: schools, roads, and social welfare instead of on the U.S. Army to maintain the armistice.

Meanwhile, conservative groups such as the Korea Parent Federation, which used to interrupt progressive rallies, didn’t show up.

One participant said with a wry smile, “They used to disrupt the Sewol Ferry and anti-THAAD rallies during President Park’s term. I’m curious about what they are doing right now.”

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