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South Korean Ferry Families Clash With Police Over Protest March To Seoul (PICTURES)

20/04/2014 09:00 BST | Updated 20/04/2014 12:59 BST
ASSOCIATED PRESS
A relative of a missing passenger aboard the sunken ferry Sewol struggles with policemen as she tries to march toward the presidential house to protest the government's rescue operation at a port in Jindo, South Korea, Sunday, April 20, 2014. Divers recovered more bodies from inside the ferry that sank off South Korea, pushing the confirmed death toll to over three dozen. The discovery came after rescuers finally gained access to the inside of the ship following three days of failure and frustration caused by strong currents and bad visibility due to inclement weather. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Families of those aboard the sunken South Korean ferry have clashed with police as they tried to stage a symbolic march to Seoul to protest the slow rescue operation.

The BBC reported that divers have now entered the ferry, which sank on Wednesday, and retrieved 22 bodies, taking the death toll to 54 but leaving 248 people still missing, including school children. Some 174 passengers were rescued.

On Sunday, police stopped up to 100 people trying to leave Jindo island, where many relatives have been since the ship capsized awaiting news, intending to march to the country's capital.

south korea ferry

Some shouted 'the government is the killer' as police blocked a protest march by relatives

Sky News reported some were chanting "the government is the killer" as they pressed against police lines which blocked the bridge to the mainland.

"Bring me the body so that I can see the face and hug my child," shouted one woman, according to the BBC.

Lee Woon-geun, father of missing passenger Lee Jung-in, 17, said: "We want an answer from the person in charge about why orders are not going through and nothing is being done. They are clearly lying and kicking the responsibility to others."

Sky News reported delays in the divers gaining access to the inside of the ferry were due to strong currents and poor visibility.

south korea ferry

Strong currents and poor visibility have held up recovery efforts

Reporting from the scene, the BBC's Martin Patience said: "There was grief, anger and desperation as dozens of relatives tried to push through a massive police cordon. They said they wanted to march to the capital and occupy the presidential house.

"It was a purely symbolic act as Seoul is a five-hour drive away but yet another example of the frustrations of the relatives. Many parents of the missing students accept that their children are not coming back.

"Down at the port, boats are bringing more bodies ashore. Families are being taken to a temporary morgue to identify the corpses. I heard one woman sobbing loudly from inside.

"With more than 200 bodies still trapped inside the ferry, this recovery operation will last for several days."