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South Koreans stage anti-government rally

19 December 2015 13:53


South Koreans have staged a march in the capital, Seoul, to protest the detention of a labor union leader, who could face a sedition charge for the outbreak of violence in an earlier rally.

The Saturday protest march was the latest of several anti-government demonstrations in recent months against the administration of conservative President Park Geun-hye.

Blowing horns and banging on tambourines, the protesters carried banners and placards while marching through the downtown streets. They denounced Park and demanded her resignation.

The South Korean president has been widely censured for her reportedly harsh treatment of union members and opposition groups, which have resisted her push to make labor markets more flexible.

Large groups of police officers were deployed at the site of the protest march to keep a close watch on the demonstrators.

Police authorities said nearly 2,500 people took part in the Saturday protest, which was significantly smaller than a huge rally on November 14 that turned violent. Clashes between the protesters and police in that rally led to dozens of injuries.

Tens of thousands of people participated in the November rally, which was followed by another massive march on December 5, with official estimates of a combined total of over 80,000 participants.

Prosecutors are considering indicting the detained Korean Confederation of Trade Unions President Han Sang-gyun for sedition, a charge unseen in South Korean courts since the 1980s, when the country was ruled by a military dictatorship.

Under South Korean law, sedition is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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