Protestors won’t have to pay Seoul

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Protestors won’t have to pay Seoul


The Seoul Metropolitan Government will not seek compensation from a group of protesters who were ordered by a court to reimburse the city after they forced the cancellation of a major festival in 2009.

The nine activists from the leftist Korean Confederation of Trade Unions took over the main stage at the Hi Seoul Festival’s opening ceremony in May 2009, holding a rally protesting the Lee Myung-bak administration. The protesters had not received approval from the city government, making their rally illegal.

The city said the illegal protest forced roughly 20,000 people and 1,400 performers to leave, ruining the festival that had cost the city government 580 million won ($514,869) in taxpayer money to put on.

In April 2010, the Seoul Central District Court convicted the protesters of interfering with public affairs and ordered them to pay 200 million won to the city government.

The nine protesters appealed the ruling to the Seoul High Court, which dismissed the case in December 2010. The protestors then filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, which was pending until former Mayor Oh Se-hoon decided against seeking compensation, Lee Hyeon-a of the Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture said.

The protesters withdrew their appeal after the city’s decision.

“In May, we got a letter of apology from the activists for the occupation,” Lee said. “And in August, accepting the apology, former Mayor Oh Se-hoon made the decision because he thought it would be too much to demand the activists to pay such a large sum.”

By Kim Hee-jin []
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