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'No War!' Massive Protests in Seoul as Koreans Reject Trump

IN PICTURES: South Koreans rallied in their thousands to reject Trump and the war he threatens on the Korean peninsula.

Representatives of dozens of organizations, labor unions and social movements across South Korea took part in a massive mobilization in Seoul on Tuesday to reject U.S. President Donald Trump and the war he threatens on the Korean peninsula.

Protesters gathered in the historic center, Seoul's Joseon-era Gwanghwamun Square, to show their support for an independent foreign policy in which Koreans would be able to exercise sovereignty and determine matters of war and peace on the divided peninsula.

"We oppose the visit to South Korea by Trump, who has heightened the fears of war on the Korean Peninsula," said one of the protesters, reading from a statement.

More than 15,000 officers were deployed to provide security monitor the demonstrations, according to the National Police Agency. But despite the overwhelming police presence, thousands of protesters attempted to block Trump's entrance to Cheong Wa Dae, also known as the Blue House: the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-In.

Trump has caused significant anxiety among South Koreans from all walks of life with his casual talk of having to "totally destroy" North Korea, and other vaguely menacing statements such as “Sorry, but only one thing will work!"

On Twitter, the US president has labeled Moon's modestly pro-engagement approach to Pyongyang as "appeasement," a comment which outraged South Koreans.

"I came here to protest because I'm afraid of a war," one 37-year-old protester told The Washington Post. "And if a war breaks out, we all die."

In a recent letter from the Pentagon Joint Chiefs of Staff to two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. officials noted that any war on North Korea would endanger tens of thousands of civilians in Seoul, a densely populated city with 25 million residents.

Meanwhile, the far-right and militantly pro-U.S. Korea Freedom Federation reverently welcomed Trump's visit, describing it as a "God-like move" that would "instantly reverse" the fraught security situation in the region after the U.S. and its ally were forced on the "defensive" by North Korea's weapons tests.

Pyongyang responded to Trump's visit with a characteristically acidic salvo of statements, including an opinion piece published in the official Rodong Sinmun entitled “Foolhardy Acts of Warlike Maniacs."

"(The) tragedy is that Trump, accustomed to getting money by cajoling other people, recklessly mulls playing a nuclear war gambling while despising the opponent," they said. "The Trump group would be well advised to behave themselves after thinking twice about the catastrophic consequences of their reckless war hysteria."

South Korea is the second leg of the U.S. president's high-stakes Asian trip, which will also take him to China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

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Protesters from across the country gathered as early as the weekend to hold preliminary actions and plan their protests against Trump
Protesters from across the country gathered as early as the weekend to hold preliminary actions and plan their protests against Trump's visit. Photo:EFE
A South Korean protester stands on a cartoon depiction of US President Donald J. Trump during a rally held to show opposition to the US President
A South Korean protester stands on a cartoon depiction of US President Donald J. Trump during a rally held to show opposition to the US President's upcoming visit to South Korea, in front of the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 6, 2017. Photo:EFE
Protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump wait for Trump
Protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump wait for Trump's motorcade to pass by as police stand guard in central Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 7, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Protesters take part in a rally against U.S. President Donald Trump near South Korea
Protesters take part in a rally against U.S. President Donald Trump near South Korea's presidential Blue House in central Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 7, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Police surround protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump who are waiting for Trump
Police surround protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump who are waiting for Trump's motorcade to pass by in central Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 7, 2017. Photo:Reuters
A protester from a far-right civic group stands in front of U.S. embassy in central Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 6, 2017.
A protester from a far-right civic group stands in front of U.S. embassy in central Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 6, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump hold placards while waiting for Trump
Protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump hold placards while waiting for Trump's motorcade to pass by in central Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 7, 2017. Photo:Reuters
No-Trump Joint Action in Gwanghwamun Square is holding a
No-Trump Joint Action in Gwanghwamun Square is holding a 'World Anti-War Candlelight' event. Photo:Reuters
South Korean protesters shout slogans during a rally held to show opposition to the U.S. President
South Korean protesters shout slogans during a rally held to show opposition to the U.S. President's upcoming visit to South Korea, in front of the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 6 2017. Photo:EFE
Police surround protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump waiting for Trump
Police surround protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump waiting for Trump's motorcade to pass by in central Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 7, 2017. Photo:Reuters
A "No-Trump Joint Action" in Gwanghwamun Square, Nov. 7, 2017.
A "No-Trump Joint Action" in Gwanghwamun Square, Nov. 7, 2017. Photo:Workers' Solidarity
Protesters called for a peace treaty to end over half a century of hostility.
Protesters called for a peace treaty to end over half a century of hostility. Photo:AFP
An LGBTQ contingent held an action denouncing Trump as a "sexist abomination."
An LGBTQ contingent held an action denouncing Trump as a "sexist abomination." Photo:Workers' Solidarity
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