South Koreans protest against Japan

66th anniversary of liberation from Japan, S. Koreans protest against Japan, N. Korea by burning flags, showing off taekwondo skills.

August 15, 2011 19:08
1 minute read.
S Koreas celebrate 66th independence day

Tae kwan do 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Conservative South Koreans set a Japanese flag alight at a Seoul rally.

They are marking the 66th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

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There are ongoing tensions about ownership of the Dokdo Islands in the East Sea, a group of islets which both countries claim.

The demonstrators are also against unification with North Korea, with taekwondo masters smashing wooden boards bearing the words, "pro-North Korean groups".

Protest leader Park Hee-Do said, "The Japanese try to invade our Dokdo Island and North Korea tries to invade our sea border. We will definitely take revenge on any aggression on our territory and our sovereignty."

Elsewhere, thousands of workers and student activists held a separate rally.

They were protesting against the administration's hardline stance towards North Korea, and denounced the "influence" of the US over the South.

The President of the Korean Trade Unions Federation, Lee Young-Deuk says the government will not stop the unification movement,  "Even if Lee Myung-bak's administration tries to stop our unification movement in nasty ways, we workers will march toward the peaceful and independent unification in our own way until the end."

Protesters occupied the streets for two hours, but dispersed when riot police threatened to use water cannons.

The two Koreas station about one million troops in their respective sides of the Demilitarized zone, while around 40,000 US troops are posted in the South.

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