The May 18 Spirit: A Dictator Escaping from Justice

On 27 April 2020, the former dictator General Chun-du hwan appeared for trail in the Gwangju court. The Gwangju court was heavily surrounded by the Police, Detectives, and Intelligence officers who were vigilantly observing protesters and instructing their subordinates.

The Former Dictator President Chun Doo-hwan, was being tried on charges of defamation of the deceased for denouncing the late Catholic priest Cho Pius in his book of memoirs as a “shameless liar” after the latter claimed to have seen martial law forces firing on civilians from helicopters during the events of the May 18 Democratization Movement in 1980.

The Former Dictator Chun secretly arrived around 12:20 pm at Gwangju District Court to attend the hearing under chief judge Hon. Kim Jeong-hoon of the 8th criminal division in criminal courtroom Gwangju. Chun was wearing a face mask as he stepped out of his vehicle and immediately proceeded into the courthouse. His wife Lee Soon-ja accompanied him into the courtroom as a “close relation.” The press reports constantly asked questioned to Dictator about the massacre in Gwangju in 1980 and did you “refuse[s] to take responsibility when so many people died in Gwangju who was protesting your authoritarian regime,” but he continued on his way without offering any response.

As Dictator Chun had continued to deny the massacre in Gwangju throughout the court hearing and striving to escape away from the Justice, one citizen was ejected from the courtroom after asking in protest, “Who killed the people of Gwangju, then?” As Chun was emerging from the courtroom after the hearing at around, a Gwangju citizen hurled an egg at him and demanded that he apologize. Without giving a response, Chun entered his vehicle and quickly departed from Gwangju District Court.

While the hearing was taking place, members of the May Mothers’ Association, civil society members, students and people of Gwangju stood outside the courthouse dressed in mourning clothes, singing the song “March for the Beloved” and demanding an apology. Members of May 18-related groups also staged a subdued protest rally, which included a performance in which a toy hammer was used to strike a statue of a kneeling Chun. In April 2017, the May 18 Memorial Foundation and others filed a criminal suit against Cho accusing him of defamation of the late Cho Pius. The Gwangju District Prosecutors’ Office indicted Chun without detention in May 2018. The soul of the martyrs of the May 18 Democratic Uprising is demanding justice and peace. However, today the whole Gwangju and Korea are witnessed and accept the injustice and massacre in Gwangju. However, Dictator Chun is continuously trying to escape from justice, but the May 18 Spirit will keep pursuing him for justice.

The May 18 Mothers

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