Public opposition to the deployment of US THAAD missile defense systems near a South Korean farming village has grown into major protests, with demonstrators coming out in force after the announcement the government was letting the US install four additional launchers.
The THAAD are installed at a former golf course, and in an area that was historically very pro-military, because the previous government expected them to support the deployment. Instead, locals were opposed to the move, fearing the US presence would make them targets in the event of war.
President Moon came into office rejecting the THAAD deployments, but amid pressure to act tough against North Korea has endorsed more deployments. Police came out in mass to try to contend with the protesters, reporting that “thousands of officers” were dispatched.
Crackdowns on the demonstrators led to at least 38 injuries, including six police. Officials say they are determined to keep the site clear of protesters to allow the US to quickly install the additional launchers.