Hundreds in Seoul protest 'warmongering Trump' over stance on North Korea
WATCH Hundreds in Seoul protest 'warmongering Trump' over stance on North Korea
Hundreds of people gathered in the South Korean capital of Seoul on Tuesday to protest President Trump's official visit, carrying signs and chanting slogans against the president over his aggressive rhetoric toward North Korea.
Thousands of police officers surrounded the demonstrators spread out in groups around the U.S Embassy, who were corralled in designated protest areas and monitored by a heavy security presence on all sides.
South Korea's National Police Agency said it deployed some 15,000 officers to provide security amid protests during Trump's two-day visit that began on Tuesday.
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Several hundred people gathered near the presidential Blue House where Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met to discuss trade and North Korea.
One protester there shouted "we do not welcome Trump … we will shout for the warmongering Trump to leave our land in peace until he is out of here."
At another location, dozens of protesters staged a Buddhist style demonstration, taking slow deep bows intended to express a longing for peace. They had planned to do the bows for seven hours but police interrupted in the afternoon, breaking up the group by force.
A block down the street were hundreds of pro-Trump groups, mostly senior citizens, waiving flags of both countries while "The Star Spangled Banner" played full blast from loudspeakers. Thousands more lined up by the main street leading to the Blue House, South Korea's stately presidential residence, waiving flags shouting "USA, USA!" as President Trump's motorcade passed by.
President Moon threw a lavish red carpet welcome ceremony, sending out the South Korean traditional military band in colorful costumes to escort Trump's motorcade into the residence. President Moon personally wanted to make sure that the president and first lady felt welcomed in the midst of the anti-Trump protests at this first state-level visit by an American president to South Korea in 25 years, local media reported.
President Trump said he sees progress in the steps his administration has taken on North Korea, suggesting he could "make a deal" with the regime, but would not say whether he still believes direct talks are a waste of time.
"I really believe that it makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and to make a deal," the president said in a press conference with President Moon. "That's good for the people of North Korea and the people of the world," adding that he sees "certain movement" in his administration’s approach when it comes to pressuring The hermit kingdom to back away from its nuclear program.
Trump previously said the U.S. would "totally destroy" North Korea and threatened Kim Jong Un with "fire and fury" if he took any threatening actions against the U.S. and its allies.
The organizers of the protest, which calls itself “No Trump Coalition,” also plans to protest on Wednesday near Seoul’s parliament, where Trump is to make a speech calling on the international community to maximize pressure on North Korea, according to The AP.
The Associated Press and ABC News' Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.