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Father of South Korean ferry accident victim ends fast

Posted on Aug 28 2014 | IANS

Seoul, Aug 28 : The father of one of the victims of the South Korean ferry tragedy Thursday ended a 46-day hunger strike against the government that inspired tens of thousands of people to join his cause online.

Kim Young-oh, father of one of the 250 high school students who died in the Sewol shipwreck April 16, became a symbol of the families' struggle for an independent investigation into the accident.

He was admitted to hospital Friday with serious symptoms of malnutrition.

After nearly a week in the hospital, Kim decided to end his hunger strike due to his deteriorating health and at the request of his family and other relatives of the Sewol victims.

However, other families of the deceased will continue their sit-in at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul and some will continue the hunger strike, Yonhap news agency quoted Yoo Kyung-geun, a representative of the protesters,as saying.

For a month, Kim and hundreds of relatives of the 304 people who died in the ferry's sinking have been camping in protest at the symbolic square in South Korea's capital.

During the sit-in, Kim and other relatives of the victims began a hunger strike, an initiative which was joined by more than 25,000 people through the website http://sewolho416.org/2363.

The site offers the opportunity to join for a minimum of one day a voluntary fast with the relatives, and was created because the Square was not large enough to accommodate all the sympathisers, said the site promoters.

The relatives of the victims are demanding that parliament pass a law to open an independent investigation into the accident.

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