Seoul to ban rallies during Liberation Day holiday next month amid flare-up in COVID-19 cases

김나영 / 2021-07-19 16:38:34
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Seoul-rally ban
▲ This July 12, 2021, file photo shows a sign put up in front of the National Assembly complex in southern Seoul, which says the Seoul city government and the police issued a ban on rallies of more than one person under the toughest Level 4 social distancing rules. (Yonhap)

Seoul-rally ban

Seoul to ban rallies during Liberation Day holiday next month amid flare-up in COVID-19 cases

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul city government has decided to ban all rallies planned to take place around the upcoming Aug. 15 Liberation Day due to concerns over the rapid spread of the coronavirus, sources said Monday.

According to the sources, the city government recently notified civic organizations that they are not allowed to hold rallies from Aug. 14-16. Some groups have already reported to police that they will hold such events during the period.

The notice has been sent to liberal groups, such as the South Korean Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration, as well as conservative groups like the Freedom Union.

"Many organizations are simultaneously planning to hold rallies across Seoul during the Liberation Day holiday, raising concerns over the possible spread of the infectious disease (COVID-19) through large crowds expected at the demonstrations," the city government said in the notice.

Groups that violate the assembly ban could face a fine under the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act and a damages suit if a virus case breaks out among the attendees, the city government added, calling for their compliance with antivirus restrictions.

In August last year, South Korea experienced the second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, largely tied to mass anti-government and labor rallies that took place during the Liberation Day holiday.

The country is currently grappling with the fourth wave of the pandemic, as the fast spread of the highly contagious delta variant has been driving transmission, posing a grave challenge to the country's fight against the virus.

Last Monday, the government placed the capital and its surrounding areas under the strictest Level 4 social distancing rules for two weeks, under which only one-person demonstrations are permitted.

(END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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