Parliament calls for minister to be dismissed over South Korea Halloween crush

Two police officers walk down an alley in Itaewon two days after the crush that killed 156 people

South Korea’s parliament has passed a motion calling for the dismissal of the interior minister over the government’s response to the Itaewon crush.

Lee Sang-min has been facing mounting pressure to step down following the incident that killed 156 people and injured 152 others on 29 October.

The opposition-controlled assembly passed the motion on Sunday.

But President Yoon Suk-yeol is widely expected to reject calls for his minister’s resignation.

The Democratic Party has threatened to impeach the minister if the president rejects the motion, Yonhap News Agency reports.

The Interior Ministry oversees South Korea’s police, who have been criticised for their response to the incident in Itaewon, a popular nightlife district in Seoul with narrow streets and alleys filled with bars and restaurants.

The crush happened as crowds gathered to celebrate Halloween without restrictions for the first time since the start of Covid-19.

Yoon Hee-keun, the country’s police chief, said the emergency response was “inadequate” and vowed a full investigation over what had happened.

Lee Sang-min also apologised in the National Assembly, saying: “It is very sad for me as a father who has a son and daughter… it is difficult to express in words how unreal this situation is, and it is difficult to accept this situation.”

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