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Protester rushed to hospital after clash at South Korea THAAD site

Protester rushed to hospital after clash at South Korea THAAD site
Anti-THAAD activists in Seongju, South Korea, have clashed with local police officers several times this year, according to reports. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

July 15 (UPI) -- A South Korean protester collapsed and was transferred to a nearby hospital during a military delivery to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense base in Seongju on Thursday.

South Korea's military and U.S. Forces Korea had begun to deliver equipment to the base at 6 a.m., when they were confronted by more than 40 protesters, including local residents, Newsis reported.

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Anti-THAAD rallies have recurred in the area since the deliveries began in May. Seoul made multiple deliveries in May and June, typically early in the morning. Protesters often attempt to block trucks from gaining entry to the base.

Activists who claimed the THAAD site illegal chanted slogans Thursday, urging the shuttering of the base and calling for the withdrawal of police, Yonhap reported.

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Police officers created a line to maintain order on roads and used loudspeakers to call on protesters to disband. When the group refused to disperse, officers began to physically push people out of the way about 6:50 a.m. One protester fell and was taken away in an ambulance.

U.S. Forces Korea and local military officers secured the road at 7:25 a.m., and the deliveries were brought in on 10 trucks, according to reports.

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Protesters who spoke to Newsis said that police threatened to arrest them if they did not voluntarily leave the premises.

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More than 800 officers were deployed to the site Thursday. The activists previously raised concerns about the large police force deployment.

The more police there are, the more severe the human rights violations at Soseong-ri, activists said in June.

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command said last month that it is seeking to upgrade defenses on the Korean Peninsula.

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Improving Patriot and THAAD interoperability and bringing a Patriot launch-on-remote capability are "developments efforts associated with U.S. Forces Korea," Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler said in a statement to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.

The United States and South Korea agreed to deploy THAAD in 2016 in response to North Korean missile threats.

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