South Korean police mobilised hundreds of buses and set up dozens of checkpoints on Sunday to fend off political rallies in the capital Seoul, as some groups pushed ahead with annual protests in defiance of warnings over coronavirus.
South Korea has largely been held up as a coronavirus success story, but is grappling with a fourth wave of infection that brought more than 2,200 new daily cases last week for the first time, partly fuelled by the more transmissible delta variant.
The Government has banned protests and vowed punishment for any legal violation ahead of Sunday’s Liberation Day, warning of a revival of an outbreak from an anti-government rally and a church last August which resulted in more than 1,800 cases.
Police parked busses along main avenues and around a large square in downtown Seoul to seal them off, while setting up more than 80 checkpoints to block vehicles carrying demonstrators and equipment. The subway and public buses did not stop at several stations around potential protest venues.