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Protests and voices

Six people died in a violent clash between the police and protestors on Tuesday in Seoul. Five were protestors and the other a police commando.

The protest itself was against the demolition of a certain district in Seoul. There was strong criticism from the public and media about the way the police dealt with the situation.

But a bit beyond that… protests are not unusual in this country, and I don’t think there are that many countries in the world that have this many protests a year. As I look at the endless rallies and vigils, I realize that protests will continue to be part of South Korea’s culture for quite awhile.

The weight that protests carry is far more than you would think. They are seen as the symbol of democracy, the foundation of freedom that South Koreans have, away from the military dictators that ruled in the past.

There are institutions and laws, of course, that are meant to protect the public so they don’t have to go to the extreme. But it seems like those measures are still considered less worthy compared to just hitting the streets. The question for the time being, I suppose, is how to let the voices out but minus the violence.