GREATEST HITS, 7: Angry conservative demonstrators in Seoul manhandle police

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by WorldTribune Staff, August 15, 202

Conservative anti-government demonstrations in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Plaza on Aug. 15, ‘Liberation Day’. / Tara O

SEOUL, South Korea — Tens of thousands of demonstrators defied a government ban of large rallies on “Independence Day”, Aug. 15. The ban had been imposed ostensibly due to coronavirus, but the government of President Moon Jae-In has been criticized for jailing journalists and suppressing alternative and conservative views expressed publicly.

A video of one demonstration showed the peaceful but vocal crowd physically shoving police or uniformed security contractors blocking its movement, one at a time toward the back.

The Korea Times reported Sunday that police in Seoul already “were investigating 30 protesters from Saturday’s anti-government rally in the city’s downtown for refusing to comply with their orders at the rally site and increasing the risk of COVID-19 infection.”

The report added that police said “30 remained in detention and that they would seek arrest warrants for some who attempted to assault police during the rally.”

South Korean media have downplayed the demonstrations and portrayed them as the irresponsible actions of “elderly conservatives.” The only alternative media in South Korea are YouTube channels which are frequently blocked by the authorities.

Demonstrators are demanding the resignation of leftist President Moon Jae-In who has been expanding the ruling party’s control of the judiciary, his political opposition and the media. Many are also continuing protests at the imprisonment on disputed charges of former President Park Geun-Hye, daughter of the late anti-communist President Park Chung-Hee. Others contend that the April parliamentary elections decisively won by the ruling party were rife with fraud.

Related: Former South Korean officials appeal for international probe of 2020 election, June 15, 2020

According to Twitter coverage by Tara O of East Asia Research Center, “the police apparently was ordered to block the crowd, but the crowd is too large. This is what the Moon admin, through Seoul City govt, tried to stop by ordering a ban, but the Seoul Administrative Court placed an injunction on the ban.”

“The crowd chants “Overthrow the dictator” & “Drag [President] Moon Jae-in out.”

“Here you can hear “Do you (Moon) think this country is yours (to do whatever you want),” “Impeach Moon Jae-in,” “Fraudulent Elections, Nullify in its entirety.” 2020-8-15, Seoul.

The demonstrations were held on a patriotic holiday marking 75th anniversary of the nation’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II and Independence Day (1948).

Related: Seoul invokes coronavirus to ban Saturday’s massive anti-government protest, Aug. 14, 2020