The March First Movement or the Samil Independence Movement represented the earliest national independence demonstration and the beginning of the Korean independence movement during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Repressed by Japanese policies and forced annexation, on March 1, 1919, thirty-three Korean nationalists met in Seoul and signed, publicly read, and distributed the Korean Declaration of Independence. Nonviolent public demonstrations then erupted throughout Korea and protested in front of Japanese national and military police. More than two million Korean participated in about 1,500 demonstrations. Unable to contain the crowds, the Japanese police arrested and killed thousands of Korean demonstrators in twelve months. Although the movement was suppressed, it inspired other nonviolent resistance movements in other countries and created a sense of Korean national unity and patriotism; only a month later, the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea formed in Shanghai that continued to resist the Japanese occupation until 1945.