South Korean citizens have mourned over the Sewol ferry disaster since April 16. Citizens started holding candlelight vigils to express their condolences and request President Park’s resignation, taking a full responsibility for her administration’s failed initial responses and incompetence that ended up killing more than 300 passengers.
Everyday, there are candlelight vigils across the nation. Last Friday, the largest candlelight vigil since the disaster was held at Cheonggye Plaza in Seoul, counting approximately 50,000 protesters. Without fail, hundreds or thousands of policemen blocked streets and barricaded the protesters and, at the end of the candlelight vigil, arrested 115 people. Next day, 95 students were arrested during their quiet and peaceful march, so-called the ‘Stay Put March”. And Monday, another six students were arrested because of protesting and placing placards – requesting President Park Geun-Hye’s stepping down – at the Park Chung Hee Memorial.
While none of the candlelight vigils for the Sewol ferry has been reported violent, the police actions have been witnessed unlawful and violent. During the arrests, many candlelight vigil citizens were reported injured, and sexual harassment was witnessed. Even a junior high student was almost taken but rescued by other citizens. Let alone media control and manipulation of public sentiments, the Park Administration certainly showed reign of terror last weekend, which appears to be a warning to whoever attends a candlelight vigil or protest against the government and appears to continue as long as South Koreans gather against the Park Administration.
This photo was provided by a Twitterian (@zwarin). Another Twitterian commented on this photo that it looks like a police protest. Now, it is not uncommon that police form human barricades whenever and wherever a candlelight vigil or protest is held, regardless of its size. Again, none of the candlelight vigils for the Sewol ferry has been reported violent.