News & Politics

Peace Activists Cross the Korean Demilitarized Zone in Protest of Perpetual War

30 women marched against the ongoing conflict.

South Korean soldiers march during a ceremony in Chuncheon on June 22, 2013

On Sunday, a group of 30 women crossed the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at Kaesong from North Korea into South Korea to protest the "unfinished war" between the two countries. The activists included Gloria Steinhem and Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee.

A cease-fire was reached between the two countries 62 years ago, but the subsequent militarization has led to widespread anxiety and perpetual fear of conflict. The South Korean government did not allow the protestors to walk through Panmunjom, a village where a truce was signed in 1953, but the activists still considered the action a success.

Some of have criticized the march, claiming that it will be spun into propaganda by North Korea. However in a piece at Boing Boing, Jon Letman quotes investigative journalist Tim Shorrock who says that the march is "an important milestone because it runs against the grain of the militarist approach to Korea taken by the Obama administration and the hostility of the South Korean government.”

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Michael Arria covers labor and social movements. Follow him on Twitter: @michaelarria