|Anti-Trump protest on Saturday in central Seoul. (Ock Hyun-ju/The Korea Herald)|
The National Police Agency said it will order the entire police force in the nation’s capital to maintain maximum readiness from Tuesday through Wednesday, as was the case in previous state visits by foreign leaders and other major national events.
Roads and streets around Trump’s hotel and places where he is set to visit have been designated as “security zones” and will be closed off. Rallies planned there will be banned or partially permitted.
An association of 220 left-wing political parties, civic groups, labor unions and student groups continued to hold “Anti-Trump Anti-War” rallies in central Seoul over the weekend, blasting him for worsening military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and threatening to start a war.
The anti-Trump protestors oppose his visit here, denouncing him as pressuring countries in terms of trade, posing a threat to the peace on the Korean Peninsula and prompting discrimination against minorities, and women.
Pro-US rallies were also held across the nation on a smaller scale. The protesters, mostly elderly, hailed the US as the savior of South Korea for protecting it from its communist neighbor. They called for a stronger response to the North’s military provocations.
Civic groups applied for permits to hold 76 rallies at Gwanghwamun Square, 25 near the National Assembly building, four at Seoul National Cemetery and four near a hotel where Trump will be staying on Tuesday and Wednesday -- most of them to condemn the US leader.
Tensions are likely to reach a peak on Tuesday as anti-Trump protestors plan to hold a press briefing at 11 a.m. only some 100 meters from the presidential office, hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. and march toward a hotel in central Seoul where Trump is scheduled to stay.
The anti-Trump protestors will also hold a rally near the National Assembly building on Wednesday in protest against him addressing the nation’s parliament. Police are set to dispatch 8,000 officers there.
Police did not approve rallies near the presidential office in the first such case since President Moon Jae-in took office in May. Another 26 rallies and demonstrations had their marches only partially approved.
President Trump is scheduled to visit Korea on Tuesday and Wednesday to reaffirm the Korea-US alliance and increase pressure on North Korea to drop its nuclear arms development.
Trump’s first stop on his visit is Camp Humphreys, the US’ largest overseas military installation, located in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. He will address the National Assembly in Seoul on Wednesday.