SEOUL, South Korea: Thousands of South Koreans marched in the capital on Saturday to protest what they say are setbacks in personal freedoms and labor rights under conservative President Park Geun-hye.
About 14,000 people took part in the rally, which began at a square in front of City Hall, said an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.
Brandishing flags and carrying banners with messages including “Park Geun-hye step down” and “Stop regressive changes to labor laws,” the demonstrators brought a diverse set of grievances against Park, including her business-friendly labor policies and endorsement of an anti-terrorism bill that opposition lawmakers say would threaten personal privacy if passed into law.
The marchers were planning to walk toward an area near a hospital where a 70-year-old protester remains in a coma after being injured during a large anti-government rally in Seoul on Nov. 14, when dozens were hurt in clashes with police.
Park’s government has clamped down on labor and civic groups resisting her drive to make labor markets more flexible and arrested several labor union officials involved in organizing some protests that spiraled into violence last year.