The Seoul city government plans to build a new memorial facility for the Sewol ferry disaster after removing memorial tents set up by the bereaved families of the victims.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon released the plan on Tuesday when he participated in a Lunar New Year memorial service for the 304 victims in Gwanghwamun Square. "The Seoul city government is discussing the plan with the believed families so that the site will turn into a completely new place to commemorate the victims and raise awareness of safety," Park said. The 4.16 Network, which organized the Lunar New Year memorial service, announced that this April, on the fifth year of the ferry disaster, will see an opening of a commemorative place for citizens.
Meanwhile, there is controversy over the city’s plan to set up a memorial place for the victims of the Sewol sinking at Gwanghwamun Square. Critics are skeptical that Seoul plans to operate a commemorative facility, instead of Jindo County where the sinking occurred; Ansan city where Danwon High School with the largest number of victims is located; or the Korean government. Against this backdrop, the Seoul city government says it intends to commemorate the ferry victims in order to prevent such a disaster.
The Seoul city government will set up a portable structure for ease of movement and installation such as containers given that it plans to renovate Gwanghwamun Square next year.
Currently, the portraits of the 304 victims and 14 tents are set up on the southern part of Gwanghwamun Square. The first tents were established three months after the disaster happened in April 2014. Since then, the victims' bereaved families have not applied for use of the square nor has the city issued any separate permit for use. That is, the city government provides illegitimate convenience to them. There have been not a few public requests to remove the tents.
Woo-Shin Han firstname.lastname@example.org