Far-right party’s tents removed from Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square
SEOUL, -- The Seoul metropolitan government on Tuesday demolished tents set up by a far-right minor opposition party in the heart of Seoul in early May to call for the release of imprisoned former President Park Geun-hye.
About 500 municipal officials, aided by 400 hired demolition workers, raided tents installed on Gwanghwamun Square by the Korean Patriots Party on May 10 in protest over the prolonged imprisonment of Park.
The officials and workers tore down two tents and a shade canopy before dawn after clashing with about 400 party officials and supporters who put up a fierce resistance against the forced demolition.
The demolition began at 5:16 a.m. after a city government official read a notice on the execution of an administrative order in front of the tent protesters, who then resisted by throwing plastic water bottles and other objects at the officials and demolition workers.
The demolition was completed after two hours and municipal officials cleaned up sections of the square formerly occupied by the tents.
According to officials, about 40 people were rushed to a nearby hospital, but none of them sustained serious injury. Police detained two hired demolition workers and two party officials for using excessive violence during their clash.
The Korean Patriots Party, established by pro-Park supporters in July 2017, has recently changed its name to Our Republican Party.
In addition to Park's release, the party has also demanded a thorough investigation into the deaths of five protesters during outdoor rallies in 2017 against the impeachment of the former president.
Park, who was detained in March 2017 soon after her impeachment, has been sentenced to a 25-year prison term for power abuse and various corruption charges and an additional six years behind bars for coercing and accepting illegal funds from various government offices. She filed for a suspension of her sentence in April, but a Seoul court rejected the request.
The city government has repeatedly threatened to demolish the tents on Gwanghwamun Square, defining them as an illegal facility under the ordinance on the management of the square.
The Seoul government, meanwhile, plans to ask the minor political party to pay for the demolition cost of 200 million won (US$1730,000) and other expenses.
Source: Yonhap news Agency