The bombing of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center was an attack orchestrated by Varrick, though executed by the Agni Kai Triad and made to believe to be a Northern Water Tribe attack, that led to the escalation of tensions between the Northern and Southern Water Tribe residents of Republic City.
Conducted during the Southern Water Tribe's peace march against the occupation of the South by Chief Unalaq and his forces, the bombing of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center led to serious political entanglements within the United Republic of Nations.
In the course of the dark spirit incidents, Chief Unalaq ordered his military to begin a belligerent occupation of the South, which led to nationwide unrest that eventually escalated into open civil war. The Southern Water Tribe residents of Republic City organized a peace march outside of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center in support of the re-institution of Southern Water Tribe sovereignty, while Northern Water Tribe residents lined along the streets in support of Unalaq's actions. Heavy police presence helped manage the situation, and no violent clashes occurred.
While the police monitored the protests, members of the Agni Kai Triad made their way into the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center, placing bombs on the upper floors. At the climax of the march, the criminals detonated the building, shocking the gathered crowd. As the criminals were about to escape from the scene, they were pursued by Officer Mako, who, despite his efforts, could not prevent them from escaping. Despite this, Mako managed to retrieve the detonating device used by one of the triad members.
The bombing led most of Republic City, along with Korra, to believe the Northern Water Tribe responsible for the attack. As a result, the young Avatar implored President Raiko to intervene, requesting military support from the United Forces before the North destroyed the South in open warfare. The president, however, remained convinced that involving the United Republic in the conflict was unreasonable and asserted that the nation would only help facilitate diplomatic relations between the two tribes.
Korra subsequently attempted to bypass Raiko by directly requesting for General Iroh's support. Although the general was willing to support the South indiscreetly under the guise of safeguarding against the North's blockade of the South Sea, the president intervened before the navy could mobilize by issuing an official order not to leave the docks without his consent, threatening Iroh with a court-martial if he contravened his orders.
Mako, on the other hand, continued to investigate the nature of the bombing, under the firm belief that the North was not responsible for the attack. He was able to identify one of the bombers as a member of the Agni Kai Triad and eventually discovered that the technology to create remote detonators was exclusive to Varrick Global Industries. However, due to his position as a junior officer and that most of his colleagues presume the Northerners to be responsible, Mako required more evidence before accusing Varrick.
- During the peace march, the signs held by the Southern Water Tribe residents read "freedom" (自由), "peace" (和平), and "autonomy for the South" (南方自主).
- Writers Joshua Hamilton and Michael Dante DiMartino expressed that no one was in the Cultural Center when it was bombed, with Tim Hedrick stating that, as the building's owner, Varrick had given his employees the day off to participate in the peace march.
- Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 11, 2013). "The Sting". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
- Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 4, 2013). "Peacekeepers". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (September 20, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 27, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hedrick, Tim & Hamilton, Joshua (July 1, 2014). "Peacekeepers" commentary. Book Two: Spirits Blu-ray.