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Publication Date : 02-10-2013
South Korean civil rights activist Kang We-seok staged a nude performance in protest of war in front of the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul on Tuesday, as the nation celebrated the 65th Armed Forces Day.
“In order to urge people to stop commemorating war and to usher in the peaceful era, I just performed an‘unarmed’ nude (performance) in front of the war memorial,” said Kang via his Twitter account. He also uploaded a video of his protest on Twitter.
This is the second time that he has stripped down to protest war.
On Oct 1, 2008, Kang -- wearing nothing -- burst into the middle of an Armed Forces Day ceremony and pretended to shoot toward a parade of tanks with a fake gun.
“The primary purpose of the nude performance in front of the tanks was to express the state of being completely unarmed. If I wore underwear, I could hide a weapon in there,” he said.
Kang urged people to ask him more questions in a discussion and press conference that he will hold at 4pm at Seoul Plaza in front of Seoul City Hall.
The outspoken activist first made headlines in 2004 as a senior at Daegwang High School, when he refused to attend chapel services on grounds of religious freedom. He was initially expelled but was later awarded 25 million won in compensation by the court.
Kang is best known for his opposition of South Korea’s mandatory conscription system. Kang has repeatedly argued that all South Korean men should be given a choice whether to serve in the military.
As South Korea is still technically at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, all able-bodied men are required to serve in the military for 21-24 months. Those who reject the conscription are sentenced to prison terms.
In 2011, Kang was convicted of refusing enlistment and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. While imprisoned, he staged a 13-day hunger strike calling for better treatment of prisoners.