The Korea Herald


S. Koreans hold 'Occupy Wall Street' protest in Seoul


Published : Oct. 15, 2011 - 12:19

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SEOUL, Oct. 15 (Yonhap) -- A group of South Korean activists are set to occupy the streets of Seoul on Saturday to protest the greed of conglomerates and the widening income gap, joining the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that originated in the United States.

The association of 30 local civic groups said it will hold a two-day "Occupy Seoul" protest around the capital city, including the main financial district in Yeouido, on Saturday and Sunday.

It said the rally is aimed at galvanizing "99 percent of Koreans" to stand up against the superwealthy "1 percent" they see in control and benefiting from a toxic financial environment, echoing claims by anti-Wall Street protesters.

"The situation is the same in South Korea, where the financial institutions have speculated to earn high profits in a short time, creating victims," the group said in a statement, demanding compensation for victims who lost money due to banks' risky business operations.

The group said it also plans to urge the government to strengthen regulations on financial institutions, create more jobs and curb housing prices and cut expensive college tuitions.

Seoul police warned that they will take stern action against protesters who violate the law during the rally, such as those who damage public facilities, occupy roads and assault police officers.

"We will arrest those who stage illegal protests on the spot and also seek legal action even after the rally ends," the Seoul Metropolitan Agency said in a release.

A preliminary version of the rally was held Friday night in front of Seoul City Hall, which ended up voicing opposition to the U.S. FTA, among other issues, rather than banks. No major clashes were reported.