Police took into custody 69 protesters who attempted on Tuesday night to reach the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae to criticize the government for its botched response to the April 16 ferry disaster.
Marking the 27th anniversary of the June 10 democracy movement, some 100 people staged a street rally in central Seoul, calling on the government to punish those responsible for the failed response to the ferry sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing.
Some of them scuffled with police as they marched toward the presidential residence, shouting the slogan “Remember the sunken ferry Sewol.” They refused to comply with a police directive to stay calm and allegedly used violence in the clashes. Among them were college and high-school students, police said.
“We condemn the arrogance of the government, which took protesters into custody in a violent way,” said an organizer of the rally.
One college student suffered injuries to his head and was taken to a nearby hospital. Two policemen also suffered minor injuries. Police dispatched some 6,400 officers to tighten security around Cheong Wa Dae.
Protesters had applied to stage rallies at 61 locations near Cheong Wa Dae, but police rejected the applications, saying that they could block major roads and disturb the peace in the residential areas.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)