SEOUL — Mayor Oh Se-hoon pledged to focus on enhancing safety across Seoul on the first anniversary of a fatal crowd crush that claimed 159 lives in the Itaewon district last year during Halloween celebrations.
According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, he attended the main memorial event near Seoul City Hall on Sunday to honor those lost in the Itaewon tragedy. He stated that he had also visited the Hongdae district in western Seoul the previous evening and observed young people celebrating Halloween in an orderly fashion.
Mayor Oh noted the presence of firefighters, police officers, and civil servants who were on duty to maintain safety and order. "Our citizens also displayed a sense of public order, as they avoided crowding in tight areas. I could see with my own eyes that we as a society had overcome great tragedy from last year and had taken a step forward," he said.
Following the memorial event at City Hall, Mayor Oh returned to the site of last year's crowd crush in Itaewon to further pay his respects to the victims. "To ensure we won't have a repeat of such a tragedy, I will spare no efforts in building a safe Seoul," Oh committed.
The association of bereaved families had organized a pre-event in Itaewon that included prayers from the country's religious leaders. This was followed by a march towards Seoul City Hall for the main memorial event, which began at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Political leaders, including Lee Jae-myung, head of the main opposition Democratic Party, and Ihn Yohan, head of the innovation committee of the ruling People Power Party, were scheduled to attend the memorial.
The organizers informed the police that approximately 3,000 people would be present at the memorial service. In response, the police said they would dispatch officers to guard against possible accidents.
A Catholic Mass was also held at Seoul Plaza, in front of City Hall, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, organized by the families of the victims.