Wednesday, June 19, 2024
25 C
Brunei Town

Memorial set up at site of deadly Itaewon crush

SEOUL (AFP)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, 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.

A woman walks past newly unveiled-lettering that reads October 29 Memorial Alley under Korean writing that translates as Alley of Memories and Safety, in memory of victims of the October 29, 2022 crowd crush that killed more than 150 people during Halloween celebrations, at the site of the tragedy in the popular Itaewon nightlife area in Seoul on October 25, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

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 October 29, 2022,” said Lee Jung-min, a representative of bereaved families, at a ceremony unveiling a memorial street marker.

A man looks at flowers and notes left in memory of victims at the site of the October 29, 2022 crowd crush that killed more than 150 people during Halloween celebrations, in the popular Itaewon nightlife area in Seoul on October 25, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

“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.”

Notes left in memory of victims of the October 29, 2022 crowd crush that killed more than 150 people during Halloween celebrations, are seen at the site of the tragedy in the popular Itaewon nightlife area in Seoul on October 25, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

Lee, who lost his then 28-year-old daughter to the crowd crush, said families of the victims were still looking for answers since the disaster.

Lee and around 100 other bereaved relatives and activists are pushing for the passage of a law mandating an independent counsel investigation into what went wrong and who was responsible for the deadly crush.

Despite a formal investigation and ongoing prosecutions of local officials, no one has yet been legally convicted.

“Only by raising awareness through a clear investigation of the truth and punishment of those truly responsible will everyone be able to live their daily lives safely,” Lee said.

George from Seattle, who was visiting Seoul with his wife, said 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.

spot_img

Latest

spot_img