Sunday, November 29, 2020
Nov. 29, 2020

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Thousands don masks, march against South Korean government

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Masked protesters attend an anti-government rally Saturday in downtown Seoul, South Korea.
Masked protesters attend an anti-government rally Saturday in downtown Seoul, South Korea. (Lee Jin-man/Associated Press) Photo Gallery

SEOUL, South Korea — Thousands of South Koreans, many wearing masks, marched Saturday in Seoul against conservative President Park Geun-hye, who had compared masked protesters to terrorists after clashes with police at a rally last month.

The march Saturday was organized by labor, farmer and civic groups to protest what they say are setbacks in labor conditions and personal and political freedoms under Park’s government. About 14,000 people turned out for the demonstration, police said.

Police had initially placed a ban on the march for public safety reasons. But after reviewing a complaint submitted by organizers, a court threw out the ban Thursday, saying it was an infringement on the protesters’ rights to assemble.

The demonstrators carried signs and banners with slogans that included “Park Geun-hye step down” and “Stop regressive changes to labor laws.” Many donned white masks that covered the upper parts of their faces. They began the march on the same streets where a demonstration three weeks earlier drew about 70,000 people.

Dozens of protesters were injured in clashes with police during the Nov. 14 demonstration, but there were no immediate reports of any clashes or injuries Saturday.

The march took the protesters to an area near a hospital where Baek Nam-gi, 69, a farmer, remained unconscious after falling down and hitting the back of his head as police doused him with water cannons during last month’s protest.

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