SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – A human rights group staged a hologram rally, called a “ghost rally,” in central Seoul on Wednesday night, chanting slogans and waving banners on a giant screen.
The rally was the first of its kind in South Korea and the second internationally following one in Spain last April.
The Korean office of Amnesty International (AI) projected holographic images of protesters on a screen set up at Gwanghwamun Square on the eve of the third anniversary of President Park Geun-hye’s administration.
The ghost rally ended without a clash with police which had earlier threatened a crackdown on the virtual demonstration.’
Police officers were near the projection site, taking photos and videos of AI members who projected the images and people who gathered there to support the virtual protest.
In the 10-minute projection starting at 8:30 p.m., holographic people appeared in a row chanting slogans like “guarantee peaceful assembly” and “we are not illegal,” also holding a banner reading “assembly is a human right.” Some walked in silence, wore masks and held flowers to their chests.
During the projection, some participants yelled out cheers while walking freely and dancing.
Upon finishing, some 30 people gathered before the screen holding a placard saying “assembly is a human right.”
Kim Hee-jin, chief secretary of the AI Korea said to the participants that “in Korea the freedom of assembly and demonstration has become a ghost.”
The group planned the holographic protest with the aim of criticizing the government for oppressing the constitutional rights of assembly and speech. According to AI officials, the project drew immense interest from citizens, with almost 120 participants helping put together the work.
Police in Seoul initially planned to punish Amnesty International Korea for waging an anti-government “ghost rally” using holographic images.
Police have come under fire for what critics describe as excessive use of force, with one South Korean left in a coma after being hit by a jet of water from a water cannon during an anti-government protest last November.
The group originally planned a demonstration with live people near Cheong Wa Dae, but changed it to the holographic demonstration after the police banned it.
Amnesty International Korea received permission to use Gwanghwamun Square from the Seoul metropolitan government by reporting it as a cultural activity.
A police officer said that the hologram rally is a kind of cultural event as it was not transformed into an assembly or demonstration.