Angry residents in a rural South Korean town threw eggs and water bottles at the prime minister and blocked him for more than six hours Friday to protest a plan to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system in their neighborhood.
Earlier this week, South Korea announced that the missile system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, will be placed in the southeastern farming town of Seongju by the end of next year to better cope with North Korean threats. Seongju residents launched protests, saying they fear possible health hazards from the missile system.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, accompanied by the defense minister and others, visited Seongju to try to explain the decision to residents but was immediately disrupted by jeers.
Some hurled eggs and water bottles, shouting “We oppose (the THAAD deployment) with our lives,” according to TV footage.
A senior police officer was injured on his forehead. Hwang didn’t appear to be directly hit by any objects as security guards and aides used umbrellas and bags to protect him. But his suit jacket was tainted by eggs and he evacuated to a town hall office.
When he and the others came out of the building into a minibus, they were surrounded by hundreds of protesters, some using tractors. Hwang was held in the bus for more than six hours.
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Image courtesy of AP