NOTE: Here’s is my loose translation of what happened and what was said during the protest. I never claim to be the most fluent in Korean, nor am I the best translator.
Various people took turns emceeing the protest: they spent most of the protest going over who they are, why the halmonis are protesting, and what they hope to gain from the protests.
Seven Demands to the Japanese Goverment
- Admit the drafting of the Japanese military “comfort women”!
- Apologize officially!
- Reveal the truth about the crime!
- Erect memorial tablets for the victims!
- Pay restitution to the victims or their families!
- Teach the truth about this so you do not repeat the same crimes!
- Punish the war criminals!
In addition to these demands, “Stop Talking Nonsense”, “Repeal the Asian Women’s Fund”, and “Establish a special law” were added.
Afterwards individuals came forth and addressed the halmonis and the Japanese Embassy, the most memorable for me were (1) the three university students, mostly because the vast majority of uni students that I’ve met here in Korea, when they’re not studying like mad, they’re drinking like mad; (2) a mother brought her three children to the protest because she wanted to know the history that isn’t in the history textbooks; and (3) an older man, whom I assumed was old enough to have been drafted or put to work by the occupating government.
While I was there I noticed three police riot buses parked in front of the embassy and several riot police with riot shields standing in front of the front gate (very similar to how the riot police guard the American Embassy) and it made me wonder how did they feel about this assignment? For me, I can’t honestly say that if I was in their position of guarding an embassy against a group of my fellow citizens wanting justice for crimes that were forced on them by that country. If there was an altercation between the two, especially if people from the embassy started it, could I really blame my countrymen and women for reacting? Would I try that hard to defend a representative of a country that has harmed my country so much?