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(LEAD) Memorial service held to mark 11th year of ex-President Roh's death

Politics 14:28 May 23, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 4 paras, photo)

SEOUL/GIMHAE, South Korea, May 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea held a commemorative event to mark the 11th year of the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun on Saturday.

The ceremony, which took place at Bongha Village in the country's southeastern city of Gimhae, Roh's hometown, brought key political figures, including ruling Democratic Party (DP) leader Lee Hae-chan, former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and Joo Ho-young, floor leader of the main opposition United Future Party (UFP).

On May 23, 2009, Roh jumped to his death from a cliff behind his retirement home amid a corruption probe by the prosecution into his family and aides.

As the country's 16th president from 2003 to 2008, the reformist leader is praised for his efforts to eliminate regional divisions and authoritarianism.

Kwon Yang-sook, the widow of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, offers incense during a ceremony to mark the 11th anniversary of Roh's death at Bongha Village in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, on May 23, 2020. (Yonhap)

The commemorative event used to be attended by thousands of mourners and supporters, but this year's one was held in a smaller scale due to the coronavirus, according to its organizer, the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation.

But a large crowd of citizens visited his graveyard, wearing yellow visors and taking yellow umbrellas, and paid tribute to the late leader. The color symbolizes the former president.

"We will continue to strive for realizing the values former President Roh sought and left to us by making a world for people, and without privilege and unfairness," DP leader Lee said in his address.

President Moon Jae-in, a longtime friend and colleague of Roh, sent condolence flowers. He attended the commemorative ceremony in 2018 and said it would be the last time for him to attend a ceremony for Roh as an incumbent leader.

Citizens line up to visit the graveyard of former President Roh Moo-hyun in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, on May 23, 2020. (Yonhap)

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