Over the weekend, Mikensi and I spent an afternoon at the Seoul Museum of Art. While walking to the subway station, we heard what sounded like a marching band drumline booming around the corner.
Then we saw the signs, the pins, a Donald Trump portrait and an American flag cape.
Each Saturday around noon, a couple hundred graying South Koreans gather near Deoksugung Palace to protest the South Korean administration and push a hardline agenda including military confrontation with North Korea.
“We need Trump to drop a bomb in Pyongyang,” one man at the protest told us. “Drop the bomb. One stop. That’s it.”
The attendees represent a small but persistent ultra-conservative subsection of South Korean politics. One man said the group has gathered to protest at the same spot every week for nearly two years.
“We want to let your people understand what’s going on in the Korean Peninsula,” the man said. “This is a very critical situation right now. It’s not simple to obtain longer-term peace. There are many hurdles.”
Some sit in plastic lawn chairs, while others sit on sheets of newspaper on the ground. Vendors sell small U.S. and Korean flags and hats and pins sporting both nations’ symbols. Volunteers hand out cheap paper visors with both flags to anyone who will take them.
Police line the edges of the event, keeping a close eye. Drummers play while speakers shout from a small stage.
One man who lived in San Diego for many years said he started coming to the rallies when he moved back to Seoul. “Korea is my hometown,” he said. “If I die or not, I don’t care, but we have to fix it. We want freedom.”
As we watched, a retired professor noticed us and stopped to talk. He dismissed the group as bored elderly people who have nothing to do.
Blog by Sam Weber / Photo by Mikensi Romersa