|▲ UPP lawmaker Lee Seok Gi leaves yesterday’s protest outside Seoul City Hall (© Yonhap)|
Embattled United Progressive Party (UPP) lawmaker Lee Seok Gi was attacked by irate farmers yesterday at an anti-U.S.-South Korea FTA protest outside Seoul City Hall.
Lee, a former underground pro-North Korea party member and strident anti-American, was challenged by farmers over his recent assertion that South Korea has no national anthem, based on his belief that the state’s current official song, ‘Aegukga’, was imposed by the military dictatorship of Chun Doo Hwan in the 1980s.
“In America there is a national anthem, but our country does not have one. Our nation has never decided that ‘Aegugka’ is the national anthem,” Lee, who was speaking at a meeting with journalists in a restaurant in the middle of last month, said. “’Aegukga’ is something that was imposed by the Chun Doo Hwan dictatorship regime… imposing the singing of ‘Aegukga’ on people is totalitarianism.”
Enraged by these comments and Lee's other allegedly pro-North actions, protesting farmers grabbed his suit collar, shouting, “What is this scumbag who rejects ‘Aegukga’ doing here? Get out!”, “Commie! Go to North Korea!” and “You are not a South Korean citizen.”
Also present at the protest was Lee's veteran fellow lawmaker Kang Ki Kab, the head of a UPP committee charged with reforming the party's tarnished image, and whose remit includes ongoing efforts to compel the resignation of Lee and another rogue UPP lawmaker, Kim Jae Yeon.
“The KORUS FTA is a declaration of the death of Korean agriculture,” Kang, who was also asked by attending farmers to make sure Lee was expelled from the UPP, said.