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Seoul increases police deployment to prevent unauthorized protests

Seoul, Oct 3 (efe-epa).- South Korean authorities increased police deployment in Seoul on Saturday to prevent conservative activists from holding unauthorized demonstrations, at a time of renewed concern about COVID-19 contagion.

Several conservative activist groups, currently in the opposition, planned to protest against the policies of the liberal government of President Moon Jae-in, taking advantage of the celebration of National Foundation Day and despite warnings about the epidemic.

Police set up checkpoints at 90 locations that connect to the center of the capital to monitor incoming vehicles, Yonhap news agency reported.

The Asian country has maintained a ban on demonstrations of more than 10 people since August and the courts this week banned gatherings of more than nine vehicles, which have been chosen to circumvent the restrictions on face-to-face meetings.

Police buses lined the main streets linking Gwanghwamun and Seoul City Hall, while subway trains did not stop at nearby stations on Saturday.

Fences were also installed in Gwanghwamun Square, where outdoor demonstrations are often held.

Authorities say they are in possession of information about some conservative activist groups planning to hold a press conference or one-person demonstrations in the square.

Two groups plan to mobilize in vehicles in groups of less than 10 in the south of the city after it was approved by law, although under strict security measures such as not being able to get out of the car, rolling down the windows or shouting slogans.

The South Korean government has issued several warnings about unauthorized anti-government demonstrations, fearing that mass rallies could lead to the spread of the virus.

Thousands of people marched in mid-August through the center of Seoul in a protest called by the Shincheonji Church, an ultra-conservative Presbyterian congregation in the north of the capital, to which a major outbreak was linked.

Since then and until the end of that month, the daily infections in the country exceeded 100, before decreasing after restrictions to contain them were strengthened. EFE-EPA

co-mra/dss/tw

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