Interesting juxtaposition, this.
Anyway, despite all of that, I've never seen such a police presence in my life. Full regiments of them were stationed at various points along the protest route, suddenly appearing around corners here and there like benevolent, reflective chartreuse phalanxes. I wanted to get photos of course, but since I only had my phone on me (which I'm still kicking myself for), I figured it wasn't worth it to actually approach them and risk getting it taken or having them delete my other photos and videos, seeing as how a couple of them had been eyeballing it.
What remained of the protesters - maybe a couple hundred people - assembled at what was clearly planned as the finishing point and listened to a woman with a mic on a small stage for a few minutes before dispersing completely. Unfortunately there was no one with us who could translate what she was saying, but it definitely had something to do with criticising president Park Geun Hye and thanking everyone for coming out in support.
How so many people who were that upset disappeared so quickly, I do not know. Actually I was in disbelief, thinking that they must have continued on somewhere else, but I was wrong. Because the anger over this situation permeates all levels and facets of Korean society and is possibly even causing a major social identity crisis through stark and sudden self-awareness, we thought there was a small chance the whole thing could turn violent. It wouldn't have taken much, you know? Numbers aside, the police could have been overrun and overwhelmed fairly quickly because of all the reasons aforementioned, especially if further protests started up in other areas. We did also spot what may have been water trucks waiting in the eaves, but still.
I really don't know how incensed Koreans need to be to start rioting; perhaps the overall atmosphere in the country now is too pensive and somber for that sort of thing. Indeed, there's even a special type of depression afflicting nearly everyone in some measure as a result of the senselessness of this tragedy that stems from the Confucian sense of personal culpability being so widely discussed across the Interwebs in its wake.
Some Koreans have tried to explain han to me, and while I mostly get it, I obviously can't empathise fully, not having been raised in a society with a closely-linked collective consciousness and commonality such as this. Everyone here goes about their day almost as if they're automated; emotions, opinions and issues of all sorts are often completely suppressed and nothing shocking ever really happens, so I guess it's that much more significant a blow when someone actually does get hurt or killed, since it's so rare.
Anyway, here's the video I got of most of the protest.
Keep your eyes open for Anon guy; he was even wearing a cape: