(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in para 6)
By Kim Han-joo
SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) -- The government and the ruling People Power Party (PPP) agreed on Wednesday to review the possibility of disallowing downtown rallies by organizations with a history of unlawful acts, according to officials.
The plan also includes restricting downtown rallies and demonstrations during commuting hours, legislating a ban on overnight rallies between midnight and 6 a.m., and revising police manuals to help them deal better with illegalities happening during rallies.
The decision follows President Yoon Suk Yeol's criticism of a labor group, the Korean Construction Workers' Union, for staging an overnight rally in downtown Seoul last week in protest of the government's labor policies.
Approximately 25,000 union members participated in the rally, causing significant traffic congestion and resulting in around 80 noise complaints being filed with the police. Others also complained of protesters drinking and urinating on the streets.
"We are currently considering restrictions on rallies and demonstrations that pose clear threats to public law and order, as well as infringe upon the rights guaranteed to others by law," Rep. Yun Jae-ok, the floor leader of the PPP, said after a meeting with government officials.
Yun, however, stated the ban will not be implemented solely based on an organization having a record of unlawful acts. Other factors, such as the organization's choice of time and location for its past rallies, will also be taken into consideration.
Yun also said that the two sides have discussed setting volume limits for rallies, proposing a reduction in allowable decibel levels at approximately 5 to 10 dB.
The meeting was attended by PPP lawmakers as well as Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon, Vice Interior Minister Han Chang-seob, and Commissioner General Yoon Hee-keun of the National Police Agency.
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