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‘Wednesday rally’ forced to move rally site for first time in 28 years

Members of the Korea Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan hold their 1,443th
Members of the Korea Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan hold their 1,443th "Wednesday rally" in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul earlier this month. The civic group has lost the site where it has held weekly rallies for 28 years to a conservative civic group. (Yonhap)
The Korea Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan has lost the site where it has held weekly rallies for 28 years to a conservative civic group.

Every Wednesday since 1992, the civic group has organized rallies in support of survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery, also known as comfort women, in front of the former Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

The site is also where the first Statue of Peace, a symbolic art piece made in remembrance of comfort women, was installed during the organization‘s 1,000th regular weekly gathering in December 2011.

Starting this Wednesday, the Freedom Union, a conservative group critical of the comfort women advocate group and its former leader Rep. Yoon Mi-hyang of the liberal ruling Democratic Party of Korea, will take over the site for its own event.

The conservative group reported its plan to the police before the Wednesday rally organizers, effectively forcing them to give up the symbolic location. The Freedom Union told police that it plans to hold daily gatherings at the site until mid-July.

The KCJR will instead hold its 1,445th Wednesday rally just 10 meters away from the traditional location. The civic group held its first weekly rally in January 1992 with 30 members when former Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa visited Korea.

The police said they will take measures to prevent any potential conflict between the two groups.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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