Conservative activists announce plans to hold an anti-government rally at Gwanghwamun Square on March 1 Independence Movement Day during a press conference near Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
The Seoul city government vowed Tuesday to respond strictly to all illegal rallies held in downtown squares on March 1 Independence Movement Day.
Conservative groups have again announced plans to stage rallies denouncing President Moon Jae-in, a liberal, at Gwanghwamun Square in the city center on the national holiday.
Last year, the activists drew flak for holding a mass rally on Aug. 15 Liberation Day, which set off the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
"We are in constant communication with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency to learn the latest details concerning the rallies on March 1," Kim Hyeok, a city government official, said during a virtual press briefing.
"We are fully aware of the seriousness of the situation with COVID-19, and remain committed to doing everything we can to stop the spread of infections from illegal rallies," he said.
Since last February, the city government has banned rallies at Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul Plaza and Cheonggye Plaza in an effort to contain the virus.
Under Level 2 social distancing measures, which are currently in place in the capital area, gatherings of 100 or more people are also banned.
"As we receive details on the form, size and possible merging of rallies, we will take strict measures accordingly," Kim said. (Yonhap)