11/13/2013, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Seoul, "icon of democracy" priest asks Park to apologize and repent

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
Fr. Ham Se- woong , a Catholic priest known throughout South Korea for his leading role in the 1970’s protests against the dictator Park Chung -hee , has joined the Alliance for Cooperation: "what 's happening, happened in the last century. The government must repent and retract. And we must be vigilant to save democracy".

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The illegalities that occurred in the presidential election a year ago were a serious crime, but the bigger crimes are the cover-up, the investigation hampering, and the pressure tactics that we've seen under the current administration".  These were the words of Fr . Ham Se- woong , a Catholic priest known throughout South Korea for his leading role in the protests of the seventies against the dictator Park Chung -hee , the father of Korean President Park Geun - hye .

The priest was attending the launch of the Alliance for Cooperation, a movement that aims to achieve justice after the serious violations committed by the National Intelligence Service which emerged in recent months. The Catholic Church has joined the protests of the political parties and democratic organizations, asking the "Blue House " to shed light on the electoral fraud and , more generally, to put a stop to the illegal activities carried out by the state apparatus in the name of "stability".

Fr. Ham, who worked with Cardinal Kim for a decade to support democratic activities against the military dictatorship of Park (father ) stated that "the Church and society have come together to guard our Constitution and embody its values in the spirit of the March 1 Independence Revolution [against Japan in 1919] and the April Revolution [of 1960].We stand here recalling the spirit of the 1980 Gwangju democracy movement and the 1987 democracy movement, holding in our hearts all the righteous people who stood up against iniquitous governments and all the countless candles - hoping, praying, and appealing for this government to repent".

He concluded, "in forming this Alliance we decided to unite around our great common denominators in spite of the basic differences. There are minor and major violations , they are all serious things that threaten our conception of democracy. Those who govern us must return to the spirit of the task it performs, find their humility and apologize for what happened before the entire population. "

 

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