Relatives of South Korean ferry victims hope for solace, political boost from the pope’s visit

The relatives of some of the more than 300 people killed in an April ferry sinking are hoping Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea will provide both solace for their anger and grief — and a boost in their struggle against the government.

Most of the people killed when the ferry Sewol sank were high school students on a class trip. Their relatives are pushing reluctant lawmakers to pass a special law that would set up an independent, transparent probe of the cause of the sinking. The ruling party is opposed because it says a parliamentary committee doesn’t have the power to indict.

The families also hope the pope’s visit will illuminate what they see as South Korea’s tendency to put financial interests ahead of human life.

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