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Seoul creates memorial at site of deadly 2022 Halloween crowd crush

SEOUL: The narrow alleyway in South Korea’s capital where nearly 160 people were crushed to death during Halloween festivities a year ago was designated a “memorial alley” on Thursday (Oct 26), victims’ relatives said.

Tens of thousands of people – mostly in their 20s and 30s – had been out to enjoy the country’s first post-pandemic holiday celebrations but the night turned deadly in Seoul’s Itaewon district with no effective crowd control and bungled official responses to calls for help.

On Thursday, the site of the crush, now decorated with hundreds of paper notes filled with messages of grief and tribute for the victims, was designated the October 29 Memorial Alley.

“This is a place to remember the people who became stars in the sky in an alleyway in the middle of Seoul while enjoying their daily lives on the night of Oct 29, 2022,” said Lee Jung-min, a representative of bereaved families, at a ceremony unveiling a memorial street marker.

“It is also a place to pledge safety so that something like this does not happen again in the future,” he added.

One of the Post-it notes at the site read: “It’s been a year but I still sometimes think of you. I hope you can enjoy your youth in heaven, even though you could not enjoy it here.”

George from Seattle, who was visiting Seoul with his wife, said that he had read about the deadly crush a year ago as he watched family members weep after Thursday’s event. He declined to give his full name.

“The designation of the alley is a wonderful gesture to remember the victims,” he said, adding, “When your children are dead you’re no longer alive.”

Local authorities this year banned Halloween parties in some popular party districts, but not Itaewon, with many shops and bars opting not to run promotions or decorate for the holiday.


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