Opposition leader asks conservative groups to postpone rallies amid spread of coronavirus
SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Yonhap) -- The leader of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) on Thursday asked conservative groups to postpone their protest rallies scheduled for early next month amid resurgent new coronavirus woes.
Rightist civic groups are seeking to stage anti-government demonstrations in central Seoul on Oct. 3, the National Foundation Day, despite criticism that their rallies last month led to more than 550 new COVID-19 cases across the country.
Kim Chong-in, chief of the conservative opposition party, called for their restraint, citing the risk of such events further spreading the coronavirus.
"This is a critical moment that will decide whether we unite and overcome COVID-19 or fall apart," he said during a meeting of the party leadership panel.
"I ask you to postpone the rallies and join the people (in the fight against the virus)," he said.
Police have already banned the events as the nation's social distancing regulations prohibit outdoor events involving 100 or more people. Enhanced rules, effective in the greater Seoul area until Sunday, ban outdoor assemblies of 10 or more people.
The party has recently distanced itself from ultraright civic and religious groups that led mass protests in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, on the Aug. 15 Liberation Day.
A total of 557 cases across the country have been linked to the demonstrations, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
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