Call for ban on nighttime rallies due to G-20 event

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Call for ban on nighttime rallies due to G-20 event

Linking a proposed ban on nighttime rallies with the success of the Group-20 Summit in November, the ruling Grand National Party is increasing pressure on the liberal opposition parties to help in revising the law governing street demonstrations.

Representative Kim Moo-sung, the GNP’s floor leader, said yesterday that the ruling party has no choice but to ram the controversial bill to prevent nighttime rallies through the National Assembly if the opposition lawmakers continue to oppose the revision.

The GNP has 171 lawmakers in the 299-seat National Assembly.

“I will do my best to reach an agreement with the opposition parties, but I won’t have a choice if we are to maintain public security and successfully host the G-20 Summit,” Kim said at the GNP leadership meeting.

Holding rallies from sunset to sunrise had been prohibited under previous laws, but the Constitutional Court struck down the ban last September by declaring it amounted to a violation of freedom.

The court said the law had to be revised by June 30 to conform to its ruling, but an impasse in the National Assembly prevented lawmakers from meeting the deadline.

The old law lapsed and nighttime rallies have become legal.

Concerned about a possible security vacuum, the GNP has tried to revise the law banning nighttime rallies by incorporating the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

The party seeks to ban rallies from midnight to 6 a.m., while permitting rallies approved by neighbors and managers of the venues at any time.

The opposition Democrats, however, refuse to agree to the revision, arguing that no ban should exist. They said no major incidents of violence have been reported since the nighttime rally ban was completely lifted on July 1.

GNP Representative An Kyung-ryul, who heads the National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee, said the ruling party has no choice but to push through the bill as a public security measure for the G-20 Summit.

“Our proposal is to ban rallies at major public venues such as the City Hall and Gwanghwamun plazas,” he said.

“It is for the benefit of the public and to encourage a culture of peaceful demonstrations.

“We will do our best to persuade the opposition parties,” he added.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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