Conservative opposition groups have announced plans to hold demonstrations in Seoul on Saturday, October 3, to mark National Foundation Day, despite a ban on public gatherings due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The annual rallies, which usually attract thousands of people, have been banned by local officials, with the Seoul Administrative Court upholding the government's refusal to grant an exemption to the current 10-person limit on public gatherings. However, several groups have announced that they will defy the restrictions, whilst others have reportedly organized vehicular rallies in the capital, although locations for these have not been announced.
Local authorities and police have issued warnings against the banned rallies and stated that any gatherings will be dispersed.
A heightened police presence is likely across the capital and in other major urban centers on Saturday due to the planned rallies. Large-scale demonstrations are likely to cause significant localized travel disruptions and there remains a risk of unrest and clashes between demonstrators and police.
Those in South Korea are advised to monitor developments, anticipate travel and business disruptions on Saturday, avoid demonstrations and other gatherings, and heed any directives issued by local authorities.
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