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Seoul city vows to block rallies on another national holiday

All News 14:17 October 05, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul city government will block all mass rallies on Hangeul Day in an ongoing effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, an official said Monday.

The city government imposed a ban on rallies of 10 or more people in August after mass anti-government rallies on Liberation Day on Aug. 15 were blamed for a spike in coronavirus cases in the country. The ban has since been extended until midnight Sunday.

Park Yoo-mi, a city disease control officer, said during a regular press briefing that there are currently 52 rallies involving 10 or more people planned for the national holiday celebrating the invention of the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, on Friday.

"We plan to consult the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and jointly respond (to the rallies) at their source," she said, adding that the city government continues to believe in the importance of safeguarding citizens' lives as much as their freedom of assembly.

Rallies on National Foundation Day on Saturday were scaled back as police installed checkpoints at 90 locations in the central Gwanghwamun area and subway trains passed without stopping at nearby stations.

Conservative activists leading the rallies have accused the Moon Jae-in government of using the pandemic as an excuse to crack down on dissent.

Police officers break up a group of activists trying to hold a rally near the Jongno Ward Office in central Seoul on Oct. 3, 2020. (Yonhap)


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