South Koreans demand court injunction to block THAAD deployment

South Koreans demand court injunction to block THAAD deployment
A group of Seongju residents have submitted a petition to South Korea’s Constitutional Court demanding an immediate halt to any further operations and deployment elements of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in their country.

READ MORE: ‘Ready to intercept North’s missiles’: US THAAD missile defense system goes operational in S. Korea

Some 527 young and old activists, residing next to the site of the American made THAAD system, traveled to Seoul on Monday to ask the court for an injunction that would halt any further delivery of THAAD components to the Seongju stationing site.

In late April, hundreds of protesters in Seongju clashed with police as they attempted to block US Army transport vehicles from entering THAAD’s installation site to deliver the first components of the anti-missile system.

Parts of THAAD’s system were confirmed to be functional last Monday, while the entire system will be fully operational later this year when the rest of the components arrive.

The deployment of THAAD to the former golf course in Seongju sparked a new line of protest. Local activists have been very vocal about the deployment of the US system, saying the presence of THAAD would stoke tensions in the region and make them a prime target for Pyongyang. The protesters also said the system poses health and environmental problems.

Delivering the petition to the Constitutional Court, residents urged South Korea’s highest court to stop the construction of the battery unit until a separate ruling is made on the legitimacy of American hardware deployment.

Last month protesters filed a suit to determine whether the government's decision to deploy THAAD infringes upon their constitutional rights to enjoy peace, health and a pleasant environment.

To drive home their protest, they staged a demonstration in front of the Seoul Administrative Court and the US Embassy in central Seoul.

“In the case that the TAAD equipment continues to be delivered and progresses to the actual operation, this will violate the fundamental rights of the residents,” the group said as they delivered the petition to the court, Korea’s Joongang Daily reports.

After delivering the petition, around three dozen protesters then read out a letter addressed to US President Donald Trump, calling on the US to reconsider THAAD’s deployment.

Last July, Seoul and Washington agreed to install the THAAD system in the southeastern town of Seongju as a “necessary measure” to thwart North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

While South Koreans remain split over the THAAD issue, the US weapon's system deployment prompted a strong backlash from regional players, particularly from China.

READ MORE: China demands ‘immediate’ halt to THAAD deployment in South Korea

Beijing has repeatedly spoken out against THAAD over fears that it will undermine its own deterrence capabilities and previously urged Seoul and Washington to reconsider their plans.

Russia has also voiced concern over the effectiveness of THAAD’s deployment in South Korea, urging those involved to consider the inevitable escalating tensions it will cause.