Seoul and Washington say the system is intended to both counter threats in the region and defend US troops stationed there. It forms the core element of the America's multilayered defense program. But the local residents fear it will lead to deteriorating health and will negatively impact the agricultural economy. The system's high-powered radar has been linked to infertility and cancer, according to local rumors, which the government dismissed as "baseless."
Some 3,000 people first took to the streets on Saturday, following the previous day's announcement of the US-backed Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense System, or THAAD. This was in Chilgok County – thought to have been the likeliest of the locations. The protests have since spread.