Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Wednesday said he will “not stand idly by” as the main opposition Liberty Korea Party plans to set up tents at Gwanghwamun plaza in central Seoul as part of its protest against key reform bills that have been fast-tracked.
Pledging to take firm action against the Liberty Korea Party, Park posted on social media that “taking over the plaza without authorization from Seoul government is illegal. I will not stand idly by as (Liberty Korea Party) tramples on the plaza.”
“It is regrettable that the main opposition is pushing forward a protest that is unjustified and illegal,” Park added.
Following agreements reached at parliamentary special committees on political reform and judiciary reform to put reform bills on the fast track, Liberty Korea Party vowed to step up its demonstrations at Gwanghwamun Square and set up tents to gather signatures.
Mayor Park Won-soon (Yonhap)
The party staged two rounds of massive protests at Gwanghwamun Square, central Seoul, on April 20 and April 27 prior to votes at the special committees.
Previously, the Seoul government levied a penalty of some 18 million won ($15,500) for three tents set up in remembrance of the Sewol Ferry tragedy that had not obtained required approval.
Park criticized the conservative party’s moves, commenting, “The party that suppressed citizens’ demands for fact-finding on Sewol Ferry and caused the influence-peddling scandal is seeking to stage an outdoor protest citing democracy and protection of the Constitution.”
The party’s decision also sparked outrage among civic groups and organizations related to the Sewol Ferry incident.
A council of bereaved families of the Sewol Ferry disaster and civic group April 16th lambasted the Liberty Korea Party in a press conference, saying, “The main cause of the death of 304 citizens is Park Guen-hye’s Saenuri Party, the predecessor of the Liberty Korea Party.”
“I have never felt so humiliated, not even when I went on a hunger strike five years ago at this place,” said Jang Hoon, head of the civic group April 16th.
“This is the holy ground of democracy and where the kids (who lost their lives in the tragedy) stayed for five years. I will not stand by if Liberty Korea Party sets up tents here.”
By Kim Bo-gyung (firstname.lastname@example.org