Amid the tragedy that struck Itaewon, in which at least 154 were killed and 132 were injured, the Korean public is demanding answers from President Yoon Suk Yeol.
On October 30, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol declared a national period of mourning for the victims of the Itaewon crowd surge and declared Itaewon a disaster zone. In a statement, the president offered condolences to the victims.
This is truly tragic. A tragedy and disaster that should not have happened took place in the heart of Seoul last night.
— Yoon Suk Yeol
The president’s statement came in the midst of heavy criticism over the president’s handling of the incident.
— Mr.Hong (@qlrvkdlqlrvkdl) October 30, 2022
Last year, the police blocked off the alley where the tragedy took place.
Many Koreans pointed out that last year, the police successfully handled a crowd that was allegedly as big or even bigger than this year’s.
— 금동더캣 (@gdthecat) October 30, 2022
Last year, there were 170K+ people. I heard there were a lot of anecdotes about the police blocking off crowded streets; They were right.
A tweet that has been retweeted over 11K times showed the stark differences in the policing of Itaewon between Halloween this year and in the years past.
2017년도 할로윈에 20만명이 모였다는데 폴리스 라인이 처져있고 경찰이 일렬로 쫙 깔려있다…안전통제를 하는 모습이다. 당시 대통령과 서울시장이 누구였는지는 따로 언급하지 않겠다.. https://t.co/ZrJS60EPWE
— daroot (@daroot77) October 29, 2022
I heard that 200K people gathered in Itaewon in 2017. You can see police lines and the police presence all over the area. They were making sure that the passages were safe. I won’t remind you who the president and the mayor of Seoul were at the time.
Koreans lamented over the current president, Yoon Seok Yul, and criticized the government’s subpar handling of the incident and lack of preparation to prevent the incident. Others pointed out how the president—in his first year of term—wasn’t able to securely handle an event that had taken place for years without a similar incident occurring.
Thousands of comments expressed rage over the president’s “uselessness” in a time of crisis.
- “This is a collaborative effort between a useless president and a useless mayor.”
- “It’s hard not to compare him with other presidents. F*cking useless.”
- “I think the country is damned due to this idiot.”
- “The useless president and mayor are showing us how fast they can ruin a country.”
Read more about the incident in Itaewon below.