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Families hold mass commemoration for 2022 Seoul crowd crush victims

SEOUL: Thousands of people, including victims’ families, survivors and activists, held a mass commemoration in Seoul on Sunday (Oct 29) to mark the first anniversary of the deadly crush that killed nearly 160 people during Halloween festivities last year.

Tens of thousands of people – mostly in their 20s and 30s – had been out enjoying post-pandemic holiday festivities in Seoul’s Itaewon district at the time of the disaster.

The night turned deadly when people poured into a narrow, sloping alleyway between bars and clubs, the weight of their bodies and a lack of effective crowd control leaving more than 150 crushed to death.

A year on, victims’ families say they are still seeking answers to what went wrong and who was responsible for the deadly crush.

“We did not want to become bereaved families,” Lee Jung-min, who lost his daughter to last year’s disaster and now leads the families’ group, said during the rally in Seoul.

“Why do you think the 159 victims who lost their lives in the Itaewon disaster had no choice but to become stars in the sky?” he asked, adding: “I would like to hear an answer to whether you think the government is not responsible.”

A police probe into the disaster found massive failures in planning, and a botched and delayed response to the unfolding catastrophe.

But it stopped short of assigning blame to any top officials, and no senior figures were fired or resigned over the disaster.

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