Peaceful Assembly

The constitution guarantees freedom of peaceful assembly and explicitly prohibits the licensing of assembly and association. The Assembly and Demonstration Act requires demonstration organisers to submit a report to the competent police station with details of the planned event. According to Article 8 of the Act, the police may ban an assembly or demonstration if they deem it to pose a direct threat to public peace and order. The legislation also prohibits demonstrations within a 100-meter radius of some key government buildings. In practice, authorities continues to exert tight control over peaceful assemblies and abuse their law enforcement powers by using force excessively. Public demonstrations such as those related to the Sewol Ferry tragedy and other anti-government rallies were met with unnecessary force by authorities. 

Despite the historical use of excessive force to quell protests, events at the end of the 2016 signalled improving conditions for freedom of assembly. In this period, South Korea saw some of the largest and most peaceful demonstrations in living memory. Millions of South Koreans took to the streets in weekly protests against a corruption scandal involving senior government figures. These frequent mobilisations were facilitated peacefully and ultimately succeeded in forcing the departure of President Park.