South Korea: Photos from Occupy Wall Street Protest in Seoul

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has landed in the South Korean capital, Seoul. Despite heavy rain, lightening and thunder, and a sudden drop in temperature, about 300 people came together for the Occupy Seoul protest on October 15, 2011. They first gathered at outside the Financial Supervisory Service on Yeoido, Seoul's financial core and later marched on to other places in downtown Seoul.

The twittersphere lit up with tweets and photos sent by young people and activists protesting financial inequality. Some photos were also posted [ko] on Wiki Tree, South Korea's online citizen news site.

Min Gyeong-chul (@mgc0909) tweeted several photos of the protest. In the picture below, his caption [ko] reads, “We are in front of headquarters of the Financial Supervisory Service. There is heavy downpour and lightening, but we, the 99% resist the financial exploitation of the 1%. ‘Occupy Yeouido in Seoul!'”.

Occupy Seoul Street in Rain
Posted by Twitter user @mgc0909

This is another photo he took from Yeiodo:

Occupy Wall Street at Seoul's Financial Sector

Posted by Twitter user @mgc0909

The photo below is from a sit-in protest by victims of Busan Savings Bank's failures. There were strong allegations that this scandal-ridden savings bank has used slush funds to lobby government officials and lawmakers to cover up their irregularities.

Occupy Wall Street in Seoul

Posted by Twitter user @mgc0909

Huh Jae-yeon (@welovehani), a journalist and very influential tweeter in South Korea, posted a photo of a citizen wearing a ‘V for Vendetta’ mask. His caption reads, ‘A citizen came to occupy those greedy financial corporations in Yeoido.’

Occupy Wall Street in Seoul

Posted by Twitter user @welovehani

The Police tried to block the protest in the downtown Seoul area. Twitter user @Bwolf96 tweeted [ko]:

역시 월가시위도 불법이라며 저지시키려한다 전세계인이하는데 왜 우리는 못하지

As I expected…They tried to block the Occupy Wall Street protest, calling it illegal. Why can't we do it when all the rest of the world does?

Unsurprisingly, conservative South Korean media harshly accused the protest of being a devious, politically manipulated action. Oh Jun-gyu (@ojkpop) tweeted [ko] against this claim:

월가시위는 순수한데 오늘 서울점령은 불순하다는 보수언론의 망발! 월가시위는 부자증세,공정사회화 등을 요구하는 “정치적” 시위다. 그리고 옳다. 서울시위도 옳을 것.

When will those conservative media ever stop ranting! They call the Wall Street protest a pure (grassroots) movement, while blaming Occupy Seoul of being ‘ridden with some (devious) intentions’. You see, the Wall Street protest is a ‘political’ protest demanding taxing riches and restoring fairness in society. And they are right. So is Occupy Seoul.

However, some young people strongly criticized the Occupy Seoul protest, arguing that Occupy Wall Street in the U.S. and Occupy Seoul are like apples and oranges [ko]. Some went even further and leveled downright insults. Oh mi-mi (@Mimi_nuna) tweeted [ko]:

월가 시위하는 것들! 평소에 반미 반미 외치면서 미국이 뭐만 하면 무조건 따라하다가 이젠 시위까지 따라하냐? 그러니 너네가 어디가서 대접도 못받는거야. 좀비들아!

You thugs doing the Wall Street protest! You are the one who used to say ‘anti-U.S, anti-U.S!’ all the time. But you always copy the U.S. and now you copy their protest? That is why you are being treated unfairly in many places, you Zombies!

Several responded more rationally, explaining that although the protest itself is meaningful, not many attendees really grasp its concept. Rhee Woong (@Rhee0403) tweeted [ko]:

한국서 월가시위를 지지한다는 사람들조차 그들의 의제를 제대로 파악하지 못하고 있습니다.자본주의에 대한 좌파들의 저항이라는 식으로 스스로 몰아가는데,이건 그런수준이 아니라 민중과 기득권 간의 거대한 싸움입니다.죽느냐 사느냐의 문제인것이죠

In South Korea, even people who openly endorse the Wall Street protest, really don't grasp the protest's agenda. Some people understand it as a resistance of leftists against the capitalism. But it is beyond that. It is a monumental battle between the grassroots and the privileged class. It is a matter of life and death for those ordinary people.

Activists groups say that there is another Occupy Seoul protest planned for October 21, 2011.

This post is part of our special coverage #Occupy Worldwide.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.