Sunday, January 8, 2017

South Koreans continue protests against president Park Geun-hye, massive...



A massive candlelight rally took place in Seoul on Saturday (January 7) to protest against President Park Geun-hye's recent influence-peddling scandal. Protesters demanded President Park step down immediately for an eleventh straight weekend, and repeated calls for the leader to be impeached.

About 600,000 people gathered for the anti-president rally as of 8 p.m. (1100 GMT) on Saturday, according to the organiser. "Hundreds of thousands of people will hold a rally every Saturday, until the Park Geun-hye regime resigns immediately and the constitutional court makes an early impeachment decision," said protest leader Ahn Jin-geol.

President Park is accused of colluding with her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil to pressure big businesses to make contributions to non-profit foundations backing presidential initiatives. She has denied wrongdoing but apologised for carelessness in her ties with Choi, a friend for four decades. Choi is in detention while on trial; she has also denied the allegations.

Park's impeachment is being reviewed by the Constitutional Court, which has 180 days from the December 9 parliament impeachment vote, to uphold or overturn it and reinstate the leader.

"I've decided to participate as an individual to be supportive for a faster resignation of President Park Geun-hye," said 35-year-old protester Kim Eun-su, who has taken part in the weekend rallies six times.

Survivors and family members of the Sewol sunken ferry tragedy also attended the rally and marked the 1,000th day since the ferry disaster which killed more than 300 people in April 2014.

"Through a thorough investigation of the Park Geun-hye administration, the people who are responsible must be punished, and I hope that victims like us will no longer exist," said one father of a ferry victim, Jung Myong-sun.

After the rally, protesters marched to the presidential office. Some held up a giant boat with a message saying: "We'll certainly reveal the truth of the Sewol ferry"

Park was criticised for mishandling the rescue efforts and questions have persisted about her whereabouts during the seven hours between the first report of the accident and her appearance in the government's emergency room.

She denied allegations that she failed to pay closer attention to the rescue because she was receiving a cosmetic procedure at the time.

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