Disasters & Accidents

South Korea crush victims’ relatives demand responsibility

Seoul, Nov 22 (EFE).- Victims’ relatives of a crush in South Korea that killed more than 150 during Halloween celebrations said in a Tuesday press conference that they demand punishment for those responsible for the apparent lack of foresight that caused the tragedy.

The appearance, the first by relatives of victims, occurred in Seoul and was organized by a group of liberal lawyers representing families of 34 of the 158 fatalities.

The relatives read a text with six demands, including a sincere apology from authorities and an exhaustive investigation, in addition to assignment of responsibilities.

They also asked the government to maintain stable communication with relatives, to provide them with support and guarantee the memory of victims.

“The fact that the police did not send a riot squad to Itaewon (the neighborhood where the tragedy took place) that night shows they were more interested in managing demonstrations than in the safety of ordinary people,” said Lee Jong-gwan, father of Lee Mi-na, a computer science student who lost her life in the incident.

One of the lawyers representing the 34 families said the legal actions to be adopted will be announced once they are agreed with those affected.

The accumulation of hundreds of people in a narrow Itaewon alley that connects its main avenue with a pedestrian street full of bars caused an avalanche on Oct. 29, leaving 158 ​​dead, mostly women aged 20 to 30 and 30 seriously injured, 10 of whom remain hospitalized.

Both the Yongsan district council, to which Itaewon belongs, and its fire and police departments are under investigation on suspicion that they did not respond adequately when the tragedy occurred and may have ignored calls to increase police presence in the district.

After the tragedy, the government also admitted to the absence of protocols to avoid such a disaster in large events that do not have an organizer.

The government of President Yoon Suk-yeol said it is preparing a legislative reform proposal for the management of emergency systems and police response for December. EFE


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