After Sewol Ferry Disaster, Koreans Lower Trust in Government

About 600 bereaved family members of the SEWOL FERRY DISASTER victims — many of them high school students — joined a march in Gwanghwamun Square, a government district and popular rally spot, But it ended in a scuffle when demonstrators tried to break through police lines, injuring several people.

So why the paranoia over demonstrations in this powerful and stable democracy, where free speech hardly poses an existential threat to peace, order and the rule of law?

Traffic was halted and sidewalks were obstructed to prevent the advance of a mass demonstration of, well, poetry readings and memorial songs for victims of the Sewol ferry sinking.

The event revealed the incredibly low trust that the South Korean government places in its people — and the extent to which its people return the favor. The thousands of demonstrators were suddenly halted on the final stretch of a peaceful two-day rally, while demanding a parliamentary investigation into the disaster that killed close to 300 people.

After Sewol Ferry Disaster, Koreans Lower Trust in Government NBC News

Protestors target Concordia

The international protest group says the five-day voyage to the Italian port is a “potential environmental disaster”.

Greenpeace Italy claims the voyage to Genoa is fraught with danger because of the risk that toxic fluids still in the wreck could leak into the marine environment.

“We cannot permit another environmental disaster,” Luca Lacoboni, of Greenpeace Italy told UK newspaper The Daily Mail.

Protestors target Concordia Tradewinds