Violent Protests Bring Downtown Seoul to Standstill

      April 20, 2015 10:38

      Thousands of protesters clashed with police again in downtown Seoul on Saturday after a series of events to mark the first anniversary of the ferry disaster off the southwest coast.

      Police buses are defaced by graffiti in front of Gwanghwamun, the main gate of Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul on Saturday.

      Police fired water cannon to disperse protesters who burned the national flag and caused massive traffic jams in the center of the capital. Around 100 protesters, including 20 family members of the disaster victims, were arrested for staging an illegal protest.

      Police dispatched around 13,700 troops and formed a barricade of trucks and buses to keep the protesters from marching on Cheong Wa Dae.

      Protestors climb over police trucks in downtown Seoul on Saturday, the first anniversary of the ferry disaster.

      Violence intensified in the evening. At 6:30 p.m., some of the 5,000 demonstrators who had gathered in Gwanghwamun clashed with police who blocked them from taking to the streets, leaving 74 police officers and nine protesters injured.

      Some demonstrators destroyed police vehicles and used fire extinguishers to spray police.

      Police said Sunday that they will identify violent protesters from camera footage and charge them.

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