South Korea PM hit with eggs, bottles at anti-THAAD rally
South Koreans have held another protest against the deployment of an advanced US missile system, throwing eggs and water bottles at Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn in a show of anger.
The protest was held in the rural town of Seongju, where South Korea and the United States have decided to station the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
Some 3,000 protesters attended the gathering, calling for the retraction of the decision to deploy THAAD in their locality.
South Korea earlier on Wednesday confirmed that THAAD will be installed in Seongju County about 200 kilometers (135 miles) southeast of Seoul by the end of next year.
The announcement has sparked fury among the town’s 45,000 residents, who fear potential risks to local environment and security.
The South Korean prime minister had come to meet residents to ensure them that the government would try its best to secure the safety of locals.
“We apologize for not giving you prior notice,” the prime minister said before the protesters, adding, “The government will do its best so the residents can live their daily lives without any concern.”
TV footage showed that Hwang speech was cut short by angry residents who threw water bottles and eggs at him
Security guards attempted to protect the premier who was accompanied by senior government officials, including Defense Minister Han Min-goo, with umbrellas and bags.
The town has been scene of angry protests since Wednesday when thousands took to the street carrying banners reading, “We absolutely oppose THAAD deployment.”
Local leaders cut their fingers and wrote slogans in blood on banners at Wednesday’s rally.
The planned deployment has sparked opposition both in South Korea as well as outside the country.
China, which shares a border with North Korea, has been voiced opposition to the deployment of the system for months, warning it would destabilize regional security.
Russia has also opposed the plan, arguing the missile system tends to undermine stability in the region and “most negatively affect global strategic stability.”
The announcement of the system deployment has also angered North Korea, which has threatened to take “physical action” in response to the deployment.
Washington and Seoul began intense consultations on THAAD after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, which was followed by a satellite launch and a string of test-launches of various missiles.
THAAD has been designed to intercept ballistic missiles inside or just outside the atmosphere during their final phase of flight.
North Korea, which is under harsh UN sanctions over its nuclear tests and missile launches, says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward Pyongyang and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.