Self-employed people who said they could not hold on to business any longer because of these quarantine measures gathered in downtown Seoul today (22nd). He insisted on lifting the quarantine pass and restrictions on business hours introduced by the government.
Correspondent Suwon-wook Suh.
[영업제한 철폐하라! (철폐하라! 철폐하라! 철폐하라!)]
This afternoon, in front of Gwanghwamun, Seoul, 299 self-employed people gathered inside a fence installed by the police began a protest criticizing the government’s quarantine measures.
Most of them are directly operating PC rooms, pubs, and space rental companies across the country.
[조지현/자영업자비대위 공동대표 : 이제는 갈 데까지 갔습니다. 더 이상 갈 곳도 없습니다. 이렇게 죽으나 저렇게 죽으나 이제는 방역당국에선 저희 목소리를 들어주셔야 하고 일방적인 희생은 멈춰야 합니다.]
Other self-employed people set up outside the fence to protect the limited number of people were also chanting slogans and raising one voice.
They said that the government is shifting responsibility for the failure of quarantine to the self-employed, and proposed five requirements: withdrawal of quarantine passes, removal of business hours restrictions, and significant expansion of subsidies for small businesses.
[이장호/감성주점 운영 : 저희가 잘못한 게 뭐 있습니까? 문 닫으라면 닫았고, 영업하지 말라면 안 했습니다. 그런데 무슨 일만 생기면 문 닫으라고 하고 영업시간 제한하고 그러면 (어떻게 살라는 겁니까?)]
The police deployed about 1,000 troops from 14 units around the assembly hall in case of an emergency, and the two-hour rally ended without any major clashes.
The organizers of the rally said they would discuss future schedules once the government responds to the demands.
On Friday this week, the self-employed people’s opposition is expected to continue for the time being, as the ‘Corona Victim Self-Employment Coalition’, which is the mainstay of the Food Service Industry Association, announced whether to close the group.
(Video coverage: Seol Min-hwan, video editing: Kim Jong-tae, VJ: Kim Jong-gap·Park Hyeon-woo)