Relatives of missing passengers from the sunken ferry scuffle with police as they try to go to the presidential house on April 20, 2014 in Jindo-gun, South Korea. At least forty six people are reported dead, with 256 still missing. The ferry identified as the Sewol was carrying about 470 passengers, including the students and teachers, traveling to Jeju Island. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Agony for waiting South Korean families
01:27 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Families sheltered at a gym attempt to take grievances to South Korean president

Families marched out at night, one witness tells CNN

Police blocked families from leaving

Seoul CNN  — 

Angry and frustrated over both the search and rescue operation and the flow of information from South Korean authorities, dozens of relatives of missing ferry passengers intending to march in protest to Seoul were blocked by police from leaving Jindo.

Early Sunday around 2 a.m, the family members left their temporary shelter at an indoor gym and demanded they be able to go to the Blue House – the official residence of the South Korean President Park Geun-hye – to present their complaints. 

The residence is located in the capital, Seoul – some 275 miles north of Jindo. 

Jindo is the port city where the search, rescue and recovery operation has been based since the ferry, carrying 476 passengers, capsized and sank on Wednesday. Hundreds of passengers remain unaccounted for.

A police cordon prevented the planned march from proceeding, witnesses said. A few scuffles broke out but no one was reported hurt.

“We are not getting any help, so we want to go to the Blue House,’ said Nam Sa Hyun, an older sister of a student who is missing from the ferry. “We want to tell the president about our situation.” 

Transcript of desperate calls released

“For four days, there is no help. Right now, nobody is giving information on the missing. Our children are in the boat and there is no plan.”

Though the police were not aggressive to the protesting families, Nam questioned why there were so many officers at the site of anguished relatives. 

“They’re not letting us get on the bus, the police are blocking us,” she said. “They’re not helping us, they’re just blocking us.”

South Korean ferry rescue operation

Several families stayed in the street, attempting to break through police lines in their march. Some families lay down on the ground, sleeping outside in the cold to express their displeasure. 

In a video sent to CNN, angry parents yelled at officials who were trying to convince the families to go back to the gym, which serves as a temporary shelter for families.

“I can’t believe them,” a woman shouted at the official who was urging them to return.

“Let’s go on our way. Why do we sit here and listen to them?’

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