Last weekend, on our way to Seoul, my friend Melissa and I met a young man who was heading to Seoul for the very first time. It was hard to believe that it was his first time heading to the capital. After having some small talk, we both asked him again, “Is this really your first time? Did you really never have the chance to visit Seoul before?” Which he then confirmed that this trip really was his first time.
After talking about basic English grammar and some conversational cues and it’s meanings (we shared with him that we were English teachers), he then reveals to us his purpose for heading to Seoul. He, along with many others, are on their way to the capital to participate in the protest against the current president (story here). He hopes that the people gathered together would speak to the current president’s heart and move her to resign from her position. He then invited us to go to the protest.
Out of curiosity and with my friend, Matt, in tow – I went.
Being in the midst of the protest was very powerful. There was a moment where I had to quell the emotions I had deep inside of me. Just think, a few days ago the results of America’s presidential elections were announced and it was very disheartening to see that hours after it’s announcement, people struck to the streets and were sharing on Social Media the aftermath of it’s results!
Although the purpose of this protest isn’t related to the American elections, it showed the power of the people gathering together. And that alone was amazing in itself.
Sometimes, I questioned whether or not I was actually in a protest. There were bands performing live and people dancing. And there were many volunteers helping with the clean-up. But as I shifted towards another part of the protest, I found myself in the midst of the “real chaos.” Loud chanting and banners flying high about the people’s sentiment against the president. Policemen atop of police busses to ensure that the crowd didn’t push through to get to the Blue Palace (where the president lives).
As you browse through the photos I’ve taken, please note that I hold no political stance in this issue. Out of curiosity and through that young man’s invitation, I have decided to attend the protest. I wanted to witness what Korea’s democracy looks like. Please also note that there is strong language in the photos.