Halloween Celebrations Subdued in Itaewon One-Year After Tragedy

Seoul marked a somber anniversary over the weekend, a yr after practically 160 individuals died in a crowd surge in Itaewon, a well-liked nightlife district in the town.

Oct. 29, 2022, had started as a long-awaited Halloween celebration — the primary in a number of years in South Korea that was freed from pandemic restrictions. A mass of revelers and a bottleneck of human site visitors in a cramped alley that evening led to disaster, and a nationwide outpouring of grief and questions on why the authorities have been unable to forestall it.

This yr, the gathering in Itaewon was a lot smaller. Several neighborhoods in Seoul noticed an outsized police presence.

Emergency autos and police automobiles lined the principle road in Itaewon on Saturday evening. The authorities had deployed further personnel to assist handle pedestrian site visitors in a number of nightlife areas over the weekend.

Earlier in the week, a memorial to the victims was unveiled in the alley. Lee Hyo-suk, whose daughter Jeong Ju-hee, 30, had died in the group crush, cried as she approached the plaque on Thursday.

The elevated police presence was seen on Saturday in the alley the place the group crush had occurred final yr.

Officers directed site visitors, however the neighboring bars remained largely empty in the early hours of the night.

The victims’ households honored their family members at a brief memorial in entrance of Seoul City Hall on Saturday. They bowed 159 instances — for the entire victims — in entrance of images and food that they had introduced as choices for the deceased. Many mother and father had ready their kids’s favourite snacks, like pizza, espresso and tteokbokki, or spicy rice desserts.

There was elevated safety alongside most of the streets, alleyways and stairs in Itaewon forward of Halloween this yr.

Last yr, detectives in Itaewon had largely centered on cracking down on unlawful drug use and failed to assist with crowd management. That modified this yr.

A wall in the alleyway was lined with messages and flowers on Saturday night.

Barricades have been put in in elements of the road in Itaewon in an effort to raised management the group in each instructions.

People carrying Halloween masks returned to the neighborhood, although in far fewer numbers than final yr.

Officers patrolled the principle road in Itaewon on Saturday to direct pedestrian site visitors.

Police buses alongside the principle road.

A member of the family touched a sufferer’s {photograph} on the short-term memorial at Seoul City Hall on Monday. Most of the individuals who died have been in their 20s and 30s.

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