Supporters of impeached leader clash with protesters
Supporters of impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye clashed with protesters on Saturday, as large crowds of demonstrators again gathered in Seoul to demand the scandal-ridden leader’s immediate ouster.
The weekend protests over a corruption scandal pushed South Korea’s opposition-controlled parliament to vote this month to impeach Park. The impeachment suspended Park’s powers until the Constitutional Court decides whether she should permanently step down or be reinstated.
While polls measure Park’s popularity in the low single digits, her impeachment has become a rallying point for her conservative supporters, who turned out in the tens of thousands on Saturday.
They waved the country’s national flag and shouted for Park’s “illegal” impeachment to be “nullified” and the “rotten” parliament to be dissolved.
The tension was tangible as anti-Park protesters, whose numbers were much bigger, gathered on a boulevard across the street from where Park’s supporters were rallying. Protest organizers estimated that about 600,000 anti-Park protesters turned out.
Despite thick lines of police officers separating them, there was some yelling and shoving between the two groups, with one Park supporter hitting an anti-Park protester with the pole of her flag. There were no immediate reports of serious violence or injuries.
Huge throngs of anti-Park protesters later walked toward the
I can’t stand Park for even another day. Nobody wants her, but she’s stubbornly sticking around, using taxpayer money like it’s her money.” Kim Eun-young, protester
presidential offices and residence, known as the Blue House, carrying candles and signs and demanding that Park immediately quit.
“I can’t stand Park for even another day. Nobody wants her, but she’s stubbornly sticking around, using taxpayer money like it’s her money,” said protester Kim Eun-young.
Meanwhile, the confidante of Park begins a trial on Monday that will explore the scandal.
The trial of Choi Soon-sil, Park’s friend of 40 years, is the biggest since the 2014 trial of the crew of a ferry that sank and killed more than 300, mostly teenagers. Ten others swept up in the scandal also face trial.
Choi last appeared in public on Oct 31 when, after losing a Prada shoe in a crush of media and protesters, she told reporters at the Seoul prosecutors’ office that she had “committed a sin that deserves death”.