Gwangju, Korea October 31, 2006Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, Human Rights, International, Photography, Photojournalism, Travel.
Gwangju, a city four hours south of Seoul, is a historical site for democracy activists, symbolic for both Koreans and Asian activists. A Mecca of sorts.
On May 18, 1980, the first uprising against the military dictatorship and martial law started in Gwangju by university students. This was in response after a series of setbacks, from clampdowns on the media and the arrest of then Opposition politician Kim Dae Jung (Kim later was freed from prison and went on to become the President of South Korea).
But as more were shot, beaten to death, or detained by the military, the whole city rallied behind the students and organised itself into citizens’ self-defence units against the military onslaught. As the military laid seige on Gwangju, the citizens were eventually overpowered by sheer might. Hundreds of students and citizens died, many more injured, and still today some are still missing.
These were taken at the May 18 Memorial in Gwangju.