President Park compares masked protesters to ISIS

November 25, 2015

 

Protesters wearing masks pull ropes to topple a police bus during a rally in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, on Nov. 14. The ruling Saenuri Party is moving to ban activists from wearing masks to hide their identity. (Yonhap)

Protesters wearing masks pull ropes to topple a police bus during a rally in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, on Nov. 14. The ruling Saenuri Party is moving to ban activists from wearing masks to hide their identity. (Yonhap)

 

(Korea Times file)

President Park Geun-hye (Korea Times file)

On Nov. 14, over 70,000 people openly protested South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s policies on labor reform and rewritten history textbooks in Seoul.

Violent clashes erupted, which included police firing tear gas and water cannons at throngs of people with many wearing masks to protect either their identity or well-being.

Park took issue with the protesters’ attire in a public statement on Tuesday in that it could it could become a security issue.

“Given that the extremists of the Islamic State (IS) group hide their faces, we should ban demonstrators from wearing masks in the future,” she said during a cabinet meeting. ”It’s intolerable that such protests took place here, considering inter-Korean tensions still remain across the border and the whole world is in mourning over the increasing number of victims of terrorist attacks.”

Her statement refers to the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, which caused over 100 civilian  deaths in coordinated attacks on crowded public areas.

Tuesday marked the first cabinet meeting since Park had left for a 10-day overseas trip to attend the G-20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits, which explains her delay in addressing the subject.

A group of ruling party lawmakers promptly followed by proposing an amendment bill aimed at banning the use of masks during rallies or protests.

 

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