Court upholds ban on Oct. 3 rallies amid COVID-19 woes

SEOUL, A Seoul court on Tuesday upheld a ban on anti-government protests planned for the weekend amid concerns over coronavirus infections.
The Seoul Administrative Court rejected a conservative civic group’s request to suspend Seoul authorities’ ban on their plan to hold a rally with 1,000 participants in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, on Oct. 3, the National Foundation Day.
“The ban appears to have been imposed in consideration that more than 1000 people are expected to participate and (the organizers) lacked rational and concrete measures to prevent infection,” the court said.
“It does not constitute a violation of freedom of assembly,” it added.
The organization led mass anti-government demonstrations in the same place on Aug. 15, which were blamed for a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. The country’s daily infections spiked to three-digit figures after thousands gathered for the events on the Liberation Day weekend.
In a preemptive measure, the Seoul city government banned all rallies of 10 or more people and designated parts of central Seoul as no-assembly zones.
The capital also banned rallies in the form of car parades, planned by another rightist civic group to reduce the risk of contamination.
Following the court’s ruling, the conservative organization said it will hold one-man rallies in Gwanghwamun, urging participants to gather there while following anti-virus rules.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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