SEOUL-- A Seoul court on Friday upheld a ban on street rallies conservative groups planned to hold on March 1 Independence Movement Day, as concerns continue to mount over the spread of the new coronavirus in the capital city.

The Seoul Administrative Court dismissed their request to suspend Seoul city government's measure to prohibit anti-government rallies at Gwanghwamun Square in the city center. The groups are critical of the liberal Moon Jae-in administration.

The March 1 Independence Movement Day, which falls on Monday, marks the anniversary of the 1919 uprising against Japanese colonial rule.

Seoul has banned protests at major squares in the city since February last year to curb the spread of the virus.

Level 2 social distancing restrictions are in place in the greater Seoul area, with gatherings of 100 or more people banned.

South Korea suffered a new wave of coronavirus cases last year after conservative groups held a mass rally on Aug. 15 Liberation Day.

On Friday, the country reported 406 more virus cases, including 382 local infections, raising the total caseload to 88,922, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. Seoul accounted for 129.

Source: Yonhap News Agency