Korean Law Demystified!

Legality of Rallies Near Embassies (in South Korea)

True or False: In South Korea, all outdoor rallies/protests within a 100-meter radius of embassy grounds are illegal.


A: False. As long as there is no (real) concern that the rally/protest (taking place) will affect/prevent the embassy from functioning safely, it is okay to rally even within 100 meters. Only a few participants, clearly peaceful…

But what is always illegal are unnotified rallies. All outdoor rallies must be notified to the police beforehand!

Recently, a woman was found guilty of having participated in an unnotified rally within 100 meters of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. She was (criminally) fined 1 mil won for not having notified the rally beforehand. (FYI, she was found not guilty on the charge of rallying/protesting within 100 meters of embassy grounds.)


ASSEMBLY AND DEMONSTRATION ACT

Article 11 (Places Prohibited for Outdoor Assembly and Demonstration)

No person may hold any outdoor assembly or stage any demonstration anywhere within a 100-meter radius from the boundary of the following office buildings or residences:
1. The National Assembly building, all levels of courts, and the Constitutional Court;
2. The Presidential residence and the official residences of the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Chief of the Constitutional Court;
3. The official residence of the Prime Minister: Provided, That the same shall not apply in cases of a parade or procession; and
4. Diplomatic offices or residences of heads of diplomatic missions in Korea: Provided, That the same shall not apply if it is presumed that an assembly or demonstration, which falls under any of the following items, may not interfere with the functions or security of diplomatic offices or residences of heads of diplomatic missions:
(a) Where the assembly or demonstration is not directed at the diplomatic offices or residences of heads of diplomatic missions;
(b) Where the assembly or demonstration would not escalate into a large-scale assembly or demonstration; and
(c) Where the assembly or demonstration takes place on a holiday when diplomatic offices are off duty.

Thanks for reading! Have a nice weekend!

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