The world is watching: the Virtual March

Feature story - June 22, 2005
ULSAN, Korea, Republic of — Whale song erupted across Lotte Plaza in Ulsan, South Korea, as the World's very first "Virtual March" to save the whales was unveiled this evening, loud enough for any IWC delegates not in attendance to hear. Thousands of photographs of anti-whaling activists from all around the globe were projected opposite the very hotel where the IWC is being held.

The Virtual March logo is projected right outside the hotel where the IWC is being held, in Ulsan, South Korea

Supporters, curious passers-by, locals who had been bombarded with flyers in the last few days, Embassy activists and the world's media gathered in Lotte Plaza to witness the spectacle of thousands of images of people protesting the prospect of resumed commercial whaling.

The whale sounds were truly eerie echoing around the ultra-modern Lotte Multiplaza, flanked by a multiplex cinema and Pizza Hut.  Along with the projection it was enough to give you goosebumps - and there were certainly tears in some onlookers' eyes!

Over 50,000 thousand people from 122 countries took part in the Virtual March by sending photographs of themselves with a banner expressing their concern about the fate of the world's dwindling populations of whales.

Our resident whale guru John Frizell summed it up beautifully.  "We have brought the protest from thousands of people to the decision makers; to show them that even though their decisions may be made behind closed doors, the whole world is watching."

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of South Korea has already publicly declared an interest in resuming whaling under the guise of 'scientific' research.  South Korea is also threatening to support the Japanese Government's attempts to overturn the global moratorium on commercial whaling. Just last night, a minke whale was butchered outside Ulsan's whale meat restaurants under dubious circumstances, with one local declaring that the catch was not accidental. (South Korea permits the sale of meat from "accidentally killed" whales.)

We hope that tonight's events will help the Korean Government to understand that the international reputation of their country hangs in the balance in the decisions they will make in the week ahead.

View a slideshow of the event!

Check out the Virtual March!

Check out footage and photos from the Virtual March event!

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