Court “President’s Office, not official residence”… Yongsan rally allowed on the day of the Korea-US summit

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A court decision has been made that US President Joe Biden will visit Korea and permit a rally in front of the President’s Office on the 8th day of the 21st, when the Korea-US summit will be held. The court allowed the assembly to take place, but limited the time and place to some extent.

On the 20th, the 13th Administrative Division of the Seoul Administrative Court (Chief Judge Park Jeong-dae) partially cited the suspension of execution of the notice of ban on assembly applied by the Solidarity for Participation to the Yongsan Police Station in Seoul.

First of all, the court reconfirmed that the presidential office is not included in the ‘official residence’, which prohibits assemblies within 100 meters of the Assembly and Demonstration Act.

“If it is interpreted that the presidential residence includes the office of the president, unlike the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly, assemblies are fundamentally prohibited near the presidential office, so the public will not be able to hold assemblies that are not likely to interfere with the activities of the president.” he explained.

He also said that even if it is assumed that the presidential office is included in the official residence, it is reasonable to interpret in a limited way that assemblies that are not likely to interfere with the president’s activities or to spread on a large scale can be held near the presidential office.

On the 21st, when the Korea-US summit was held, the Solidarity for Participation reported a rally in one lane in front of the Ministry of National Defense in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, where the presidential office is located, and one lane in front of the War Memorial of Korea. The meeting will start at 8 am and end at 10 pm.

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The Solidarity for Participation said that the start time of the rally was 8:00 a.m., but it is likely that the rally will be held at the same time as the Korea-US summit in the Oval Office. It is reported that the solidarity for participation planned to specify the meeting place as one of two places (in front of the Ministry of National Defense and in front of the War Memorial of Korea) in consultation with the police.

The court decided to restrict some of the assemblies, taking into account concerns about traffic congestion, career mobilization to maintain order, and the possibility of unexpected acts of harm to public welfare that differ from the organizers’ expectations. The assembly time is from 12 noon to 5 pm, and the venue is limited to the sidewalk in front of the War Memorial of Korea and one lower lane.

The same court’s Administrative Division 1 (Chief Judge Kang Dong-hyeok) also cited some of the enforcement ordinances issued by those who promote peace and unification against Yongsan-seo on the ban on assemblies.

Pyeongtongsa reported that it would hold a rally and march from midnight on the 20th to midnight on the 22nd at the sidewalk in front of the War Memorial of Korea, the left and right sidewalks at the main gate of the Ministry of National Defense, and the sidewalk in front of the Civil Service Office of the Ministry of National Defense. When the police banned it, they dissatisfied with it, filed a lawsuit and applied for suspension of execution.

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During the interrogation process, the purpose of the application was reduced to a rally between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm on the 21st and a march between 3:30 pm and 5:00 pm on the same day. The meeting place was also specified as the sidewalk in front of the main gate of the War Memorial of Korea.

The court ruled that the assembly should be allowed, considering the police’s disposition to ban the assembly as “the presidential office corresponds to the official residence” as unreasonable.

The meeting time was limited to the left and right sidewalks in front of the main gate of the War Memorial of Korea on the 21st from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. As a condition of the march, it was suggested that one-way passage within an hour from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm in front of the War Memorial of Korea to Noksapyeong Station on the same day.

In the end, the court considered that the ban on all gatherings within 100 meters of the presidential office was an excessive restriction on freedom. As a result, both the Solidarity for Participation and Pyeongtongsa can hold a rally right in front of the President’s Office at the time the Korea-US summit is being held.

The court’s first decision on the assembly near the president’s office is about the March 14th March in Yongsan of the International Day Against Homophobia and Homophobia 2022. The court ruled that most of these gatherings should be permitted, saying, “The President’s Office is not an official residence.”

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