Anti-North Korean protesters demonstrate as a ship from North Korea carrying around 120 performers arrives at the eastern port of Mukho

North Korea calls anti-Pyongyang protesters ‘human scum’

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North Korea has slammed anti-Pyongyang activists for rallying against its participation in the Winter Olympics – dismissing the protest as the ‘spasm of psychopaths’.

Hundreds of angry South Korean conservatives demonstrated as a ship from North Korea carrying around 120 performers arrived at the eastern port of Mukho.

Some carried pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with a huge X across his face, while others crumpled the images, stamping them underfoot, and burned both a North Korean flag and a unified Korea flag.

They ‘ran around like headless chickens, barking that “the ship of reds came”, “go back to your country” and “boost the south Korea-US alliance”‘, Pyongyang’s state KCNA news agency stated.on Wednesday, calling the protesters ‘human scum’. 

Anti-North Korean protesters demonstrate as a ship from North Korea carrying around 120 performers arrives at the eastern port of Mukho

Anti-North Korean protesters demonstrate as a ship from North Korea carrying around 120 performers arrives at the eastern port of Mukho

Anti-North Korean protesters demonstrate as a ship from North Korea carrying around 120 performers arrives at the eastern port of Mukho

‘Worse still, they made no bones about besmirching the dignity of the DPRK supreme leadership and burning the flags of the DPRK (North Korea) and the Korean Peninsula’, it said.

Any insult to the ruling Kim dynasty always provokes the North’s ire.

‘They are no more than a group of benighted gangsters inferior to beast,’ KCNA said.

The performers spent the night on board the vessel and did not emerge until Wednesday, when they marched off in red coats and were bussed to the Gangneung venue for a rehearsal.

The art troupe, called the Samjiyon Orchestra and numbering 140 in all, is due to perform Thursday in Gangneung, where the Games’ ice events are being held, and in Seoul on Sunday.

The North Korean art troupe, called the Samjiyon Orchestra, is due to perform Thursday in Gangneung, where the Games' ice events are being held, and in Seoul on Sunday

The North Korean art troupe, called the Samjiyon Orchestra, is due to perform Thursday in Gangneung, where the Games' ice events are being held, and in Seoul on Sunday

The North Korean art troupe, called the Samjiyon Orchestra, is due to perform Thursday in Gangneung, where the Games’ ice events are being held, and in Seoul on Sunday

The Olympics have triggered a rapid rapprochement on the divided Korean peninsula, after the nuclear-armed North’s leader Kim Jong-Un expressed a willingness to participate in his New Year speech.

The two Koreas held a rare high-level meeting last month and the North’s ceremonial head of state is due to arrive Friday, the highest-level Pyongyang official ever to visit the South.

Critics in the South allege the North has been allowed to hijack the Pyeongchang Games, and refer to them instead as the Pyongyang Olympics.

But how long the respite in tensions lasts after the Games remains to be seen, especially when the United States and South Korea resume their delayed joint annual military exercises that always infuriate Pyongyang.

KCNA warned Tuesday the resumption of the drills will throw the Korean peninsula back to ‘the grim phase of catastrophe’.

Winter Olympics 2018: The key events in Pyeongchang

Nearly 3,000 athletes from 92 nations, more than 100 gold medals up for grabs and the prospect of a unified Korean ice hockey team.

The eyes of the world will be on Pyeongchang on Friday as South Korea’s Winter Olympics finally gets underway.

Here are some of the key events and when to tune in and watch them (times in GMT):

Preliminary rounds: February 8, from 2am

While the Games officially kicks off on Friday, the sporting action actually starts a day before, with mixed curling and the qualification round for the men’s individual normal hill ski jumping. 

Opening Ceremony: February 9, from 10.30am

The two-hour showpiece is expected to kick start the coldest Games since Lillehammer in 1994 with temperatures dropping to -10C with wind chill.

Spectators will be handed warm clothing while Pyeongchang’s $78million roofless stadium – temporarily built for the opening and closing ceremonies –  has been fitted with 40 huge heaters as well as wind shields amid growing concerns over the health of the 35,000 fans and athletes attending.

The two-hour showpiece is expected to kick start the coldest Games since Lillehammer in 1994 with temperatures dropping to -10C with wind chill

Television viewers may catch site of this group of North Korean cheerleaders, sent to the South by Kim Jong-un to support North Korea's small selection of competitors

Television viewers may catch site of this group of North Korean cheerleaders, sent to the South by Kim Jong-un to support North Korea's small selection of competitors

Television viewers may catch site of this group of North Korean cheerleaders, sent to the South by Kim Jong-un to support North Korea’s small selection of competitors

Some 35,000 will watch on as athletes competing at the games march into the ‘Parade of Nations’.

The extravaganza will then celebrate Korean culture, pop music, and history while enemies North and South Korea will parade under one flag to signify the theme of the Games – peace. 

Men’s downhill: February 11, from 2am

One of the showpiece events of the Games, with favourites including Beat Feuz of Switzerland, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and Max Franz of Austria. 

North and South unify for ‘Korea’ ice hockey team: February 12, 12.10pm

Female hockey players from both North Korea and South Korea make history by joining forces. At 9.10pm local time they will take on Sweden in their opening fixture. 

Female hockey players from both North Korea and South Korea make history by joining forces. At 9.10pm local time they will take on Sweden in their opening fixture.

Female hockey players from both North Korea and South Korea make history by joining forces. At 9.10pm local time they will take on Sweden in their opening fixture.

Female hockey players from both North Korea and South Korea make history by joining forces. At 9.10pm local time they will take on Sweden in their opening fixture.

One of the Games' biggest stars, legendary US snowboarder Shaun White (pictured) - dubbed the Flying Tomato - expected to compete in the men's halfpipe finals

One of the Games' biggest stars, legendary US snowboarder Shaun White (pictured) - dubbed the Flying Tomato - expected to compete in the men's halfpipe finals

One of the Games’ biggest stars, legendary US snowboarder Shaun White (pictured) – dubbed the Flying Tomato – expected to compete in the men’s halfpipe finals

Halfpipe final: February 14, from 1.30am

One of the Games’ biggest stars, legendary US snowboarder Shaun White – dubbed the Flying Tomato –  expected to compete in the men’s halfpipe finals.

Women’s curling: From February 14, coverage starting at 5am

Britain led by Eve Muirhead has strong medal hopes in curling with the competition running throughout the Games 

Ice dancing: February 19, from 3.30am

Always a popular event at the Winter Olympics, the ice dancing will take place at Gangneung Ice Arena. British medal hopes rest on Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland who have been helped by Olympic legends Torvill and Dean.

Always a popular event at the Winter Olympics, the ice dancing will take place at Gangneung Ice Arena. British medal hopes rest on Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland (pictured) who have been helped by Olympic legends Torvill and Dean

Always a popular event at the Winter Olympics, the ice dancing will take place at Gangneung Ice Arena. British medal hopes rest on Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland (pictured) who have been helped by Olympic legends Torvill and Dean

Always a popular event at the Winter Olympics, the ice dancing will take place at Gangneung Ice Arena. British medal hopes rest on Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland (pictured) who have been helped by Olympic legends Torvill and Dean

Women’s Skeleton final: February 17, from 11am

Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold is back to defend her gold medal from Sochi 2014.

Big Air snowboarding: February 19 

Katie Ormerod, 20, leads British hopes in the spectacular Big Air contest, new to the Olympics, as well as slopestyle which takes place on February 11 at 4.30am. can follow in her tracks. 

Katie Ormerod (pictured), 20, leads British hopes in the spectacular Big Air contest, new to the Olympics, as well as slopestyle which takes place on February 11 at 4.30am. can follow in her tracks

Katie Ormerod (pictured), 20, leads British hopes in the spectacular Big Air contest, new to the Olympics, as well as slopestyle which takes place on February 11 at 4.30am. can follow in her tracks

Katie Ormerod (pictured), 20, leads British hopes in the spectacular Big Air contest, new to the Olympics, as well as slopestyle which takes place on February 11 at 4.30am. can follow in her tracks

Closing Ceremony: February 25, from 11am to 1pm

Ivanka Trump is reportedly set to be among the spectators as the games comes to an end. The party is expected to be another tribute to South Korean culture. The Olympic torch will be handed over to the 2020 Summer Olympics host Tokyo.

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