UPDATE (3 May 2008): The demonstration on the 3rd sucked. As usual for 21st century Korea, when something is good, the first thing that happens is microphones and a sound system are brought in, random yahoos blab into the microphones (or, worse, sing) for hours on end, and the crowds end up becoming an audience, not participants.
I wandered off, disappointed, when some teenaged boy was onstage cussing out Lee Myung Bak, and snapped a few more shots of the crowds who turned out, but nothing too special. (I’ll upload them later.) Lime and I ended up going for dinner around 8pm, when the cops declared, “Hey, you middle schoolers, go home!” and “This demonstration is now becoming illegal!” Why? Because there were more than the 50 people the demonstration was booked to include.
Yes, you have to book for a certain turnout, and a demonstration of thousands is pretty unlikely to be “approved.” Freedom of Assembly? Civil Rights? What’re those? You can have them when you’re allowed, I guess. Which doesn’t sound like rights to me. (Aren’t rights inalienable?)
Worse, Lime couldn’t understand why I thought it problematic that the cops had cordoned off the area of the demonstration. Which I think is problematic because it’s just unnecessary, and futile — the crowds who gathered outside the cordon gathered anyway, and most of the scuffles I saw were just people trying to get in, and being shoved off and told to “go around.” There was a LOT more “going around” necessary today than yesterday. Yet another disincentive to participate.
Ah well. I still feel a little hope from last night’s proceedings, even if I think today’s are, well, more likely the commoner sort of thing to expect.
Here are some photos from the demonstration I was at with Lime earlier tonight.Click on the images to go to the photo’s page on Flickr, where you can see bigger-sized images, or just check out the photoset directly here. These are my favorites, but there are more over there to see.
By the way, there’s another demonstration tomorrow afternoon, at 5pm, in the same place: in Seoul, on the Cheonggyecheon stream, right by the weird spiral tower and in front of the Chosun and Dong-A Ilbo offices. I’ll be there, but good luck finding me in the crowd! (It was 13,000 tonight, and will likely be much bigger tomorrow!)