South Korea protests: Seoul rally against Park Geun-hye

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Saturday's protest went ahead after a court turned down the government's move for an injunction to be made against it.

Tens of thousands of protesters in South Korea have held a mass rally against a raft of government policies that they say weaken democracy.

The protest was big, rowdy and attended by a wide cross section of people but there was no repeat of violence which marred a similar rally last month.

About 18,000 police were deployed in the capital, Seoul.

Protesters oppose plans including changes to labour laws and greater controls over history textbooks.

Left-wing critics say this will lead to a whitewashing of past South Korean dictatorships.

Image source, AP
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Saturday's rally was mostly peaceful, in contrast to a similar demonstration last month
Image source, AP

About 14,000 people are estimated by police to have attended the rally, far fewer than the 60,000 that attended the 14 November demonstration.

Saturday's protest went ahead after a court turned down the government's move for an injunction made in the aftermath of violence at the previous demonstration.

The demonstrators were unhappy over moves by President Park Geun-hye's conservative government to dismiss workers based on performance and to place a ceiling on the salaries of senior employees to encourage employers to recruit younger people and reduce youth unemployment.

An arrest warrant has been issued against the head of the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), who has taken sanctuary in a Buddhist temple in Seoul, over the 14 November rally.

Image source, AP
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President Park has called for people to be banned from covering their faces at rallies
Image source, AP
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The march was organised by labour, farmer and civic groups in protest over what they say is a deterioration in personal and political freedom

On Saturday Han Sang-gyun repeated a call for a general strike against "labour conditions that only fattens capitalists".

President Park is the country's first female president and was elected two years ago.