Ferry protesters, police clash in Seoul

2015-04-18 17:57
Police officers try to block protestors trying to march toward the presidential house after a rally to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sewol ferry sinking in Seoul. (Ahn Young-joon, AP)

Police officers try to block protestors trying to march toward the presidential house after a rally to commemorate the first anniversary of the Sewol ferry sinking in Seoul. (Ahn Young-joon, AP)

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Seoul - Hundreds of protestors clashed with police in Seoul on Saturday after families of the victims of South Korea's ferry disaster were prevented from marching to the president's residence.

An crowd of about 3,000 forced their way through police barricades in their attempt to join a group of about 50 other families who had been staging a two-day sit-in nearby.

Police vans

Police used pepper spray and water cannons and traded punches and kicks with those at the front of the crowd.

"Salvage the Sewol ferry", the protestors chanted.

Earlier, police had pushed several protesters into police vans.

Others crawled under police buses to avoid arrest and one mother passed out, requiring help from a paramedic.

The families had wanted to march to the presidential Blue House in protest what they see as the government's failure to ensure an independent investigation into the ferry tragedy.

The sinking of the vessel in April last year claimed 304 lives, most of them teenagers on a school journey.

Firm commitment

Mourners clashed with police on Thursday in the same place after a mass rally drew 10,000 people to mark the first anniversary of the disaster.

President Park Geun-Hye, currently on a trip to South America, vowed on Thursday to raise the sunken ferry to the surface to help find the nine people who are still unaccounted for.

The announcement followed weeks of protests by victims' families demanding a firm commitment to raising the 6,825-ton ferry, despite the technical challenges and the estimated $110m cost.


Read more on:    seoul  |  maritime accidents

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