SEOUL, Aug. 24 (UPI) — More than 10,000 people staged a rally in the South Korean city of Gimcheon on Wednesday in response to government plans to elect the location as an alternative candidate site for THAAD deployment.
The protesters, mostly local residents, gathered in Gimcheon Stadium in North Gyeongsang Province, News 1 reported.
An area near Gimcheon emerged as a possible candidate site after activists at nearby Seongju, the designated site for the U.S. anti-missile defense system, requested a review of deployment plans.
Seoul had chosen the Lotte Skyhill Seongju Country Club as an alternate site but the residents of Gimcheon, who live near the location, are strongly opposed to the move.
The golf course is also a few miles away from Gimcheon Innovation City, a new urban planning project designed to invigorate the local economy.
The protesters wore red headbands and shouted their opposition to plans for THAAD deployment during the gathering at the local stadium.
Kim Se-hun, the senior co-chairman of the Gimcheon Action Committee for Opposition to THAAD Deployment, said his city is the safest city free of “hurricanes, fire and traffic accidents.”
“We must block THAAD deployment for the future generations,” Kim said.
Kim said the decision to choose an area near Gimcheon without consulting residents is unforgivable, South Korea press reported.
Gimcheon Mayor Park Bo-saeng said he is opposed to the measure because of plans for the Innovation City. He then shaved his head with a group of activists during the protest.
More than 160 police were dispatched to the rally, according to Yonhap, but the event ended peacefully.