March 1 (UPI) -- Thousands gathered near Seoul's Gwanghwamun Square on Thursday for a rally marking the 99th anniversary of the Independence Movement of 1919.
Activists at the rallies -- which commemorated the movement that declared independence from Japanese colonizers -- called for a strong alliance between South Korea and the United States, pre-emptive strike ability against North Korea and the release of impeached President Park Geun-hye, who's being held on corruption allegations.
Across the country, other ceremonies were held Thursday to reminisce, including a memorial in Gwanghwamun to remember forced labor victims.
On Friday, the remains of 33 Korean forced laborers will be buried at Seoul City Yongmi-ri Second Cemetery Park. Next year, 35 more victims' remains will return for burial.
A speech by South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Japan to revise its "erroneous view of history," referring to the dispute over the Takeshima islets and "comfort women" who were forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese soldiers.
To honor the wartime sexual slavery victims, a protest was held in front of the "comfort women" memorial statue outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.
Independence Movement Day, also called Samiljeol in Korean, has been a national holiday since 1949. On March 1, 1919, during a peace protest in Seoul, 7,509 people were killed, 50,000 were arrested and 16,000 injured by the Japanese military.