These politically charged Winter Olympics in South Korea are already seeing protests on both sides of the unification issue with North Korea.
On Thursday, an anti-unification protest was staged outside the Olympic stadium in PyeongChang as North Korea and South Korea march under a unified flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics.
Around 800 people, according to a report by Reuters, gathered for the march toward the stadium where the Olympic torch will be lit. Protesters burned North Korean flags and pictures of the communist country’s repressive leader, Kim Jong-Un. Meanwhile, Seoul officials are hoping the Olympics will serve as a symbol of peace.
Protesters and police scuffled at times, while protesters criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in, upset that he is using the Olympic Games as a vehicle to re-engage with the North in an attempt to open talks over North Korea’s nuclear program.
North Korea continues to face tightening international sanctions after it conducted another nuclear test last year and a series of missile tests.
Protesters raised banners reading, “Moon Regime is leading Korea to destruction” and one that made an appeal to U.S. President Donald Trump: “Mr President. North Korea bombing, please.”
Counter-protests also took place with people holding banners that read, “Against War! For Peace! Yankee Go Home!!” and “We the People Demand Peace! Oppose War!!”
Kim Jong-Un dispatched his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to South Korea, and she will be in the audience for the Opening Ceremonies.
She is the first member of the North’s ruling family to visit the South. She and the North’s ceremonial head of state will be on hand to watch teams from North and South Korea march behind a unified Korean flag.