Protests Led By Religious Groups All This Week

July 2, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

Street protests against the import of U.S. beef which had been organized by the People's Association for Measures Against Mad Cow Disease appear to have been taken over for the time being by religious organizations. Progressive organizations of the Catholic and Protestant churches and Buddhist orders have agreed to organize protest rallies by relay this week, handing the leadership back to the PAMAMCD this weekend.

The denominational organizations took over when the PAMAMCD found itself driven into a corner with numbers of participants dropping sharply and a police crackdown on now almost daily violence. But what motivated priests, pastors and monks to step forward now? And what effect will they have?

Monday’s rally led by the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice, was the first time the PAMAMCD, itself a coalition of hundreds of famous and lesser-known activist groups, has ceded control after leading candlelight vigils on altogether 53 occasions from May 6 to June 29.

Religious groups will organize candlelight vigils in the Seoul Plaza until Friday. The CPAJ will hold masses until Wednesday, when the Korean National Council of Churches, a Protestant umbrella, will hold a prayer meeting. On Friday, Buddhist organizations including Lotus World will hold a Buddhist ceremony.