Ral­lies in sup­port of pros­e­cu­to­rial re­form grow

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kim Hyun-bin hyun­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Protests call­ing for re­form of the pros­e­cu­tion are ex­pand­ing, with ral­lies tak­ing place across the coun­try par­tic­i­pated in by larger num­bers of peo­ple.

In south­ern Seoul, Satur­day, a mas­sive can­dlelit rally was held near the Supreme Pros­e­cu­tors’ Of­fice in sup­port of Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in’s pros­e­cu­to­rial re­form plan and Jus­tice Min­is­ter Cho Kuk — a larger protest than the Sept. 28 one which the or­ga­nizer said drew 1.5 mil­lion.

The or­ga­niz­ers claimed over 3 mil­lion peo­ple took part, oc­cu­py­ing eight lanes of the 1.1-kilo­me­ter road north and south, and 10 lanes of the 1.2-kilo­me­ter road east to west, from Seo­cho Sta­tion. Po­lice had to ex­pand their clo­sure of roads due to the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants.

Ac­cord­ing to some ob­servers, the larger at­ten­dance was trig­gered by a rally held Oct. 3 by con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal and civic groups in down­town Seoul, where 3 mil­lion peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­niz­ers, called for the min­is­ter’s re­moval from of­fice.

On Satur­day, par­tic­i­pants chanted slo­gans such as, “Re­form the pros­e­cu­tion” and “Pro­tect Cho Kuk” as they be­lieve the pros­e­cu­tion’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing Cho’s fam­ily is to ham­per him in car­ry­ing out Moon’s re­form plan.

Smaller ral­lies were also staged in Gwangju and Bu­san in front of the lo­cal pros­e­cu­tors’ of­fices there.

Those call­ing for Cho’s res­ig­na­tion and ar­rest over the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions, mostly con­ser­va­tives, also con­tin­ued to hold protests.

Hours be­fore the can­dlelit gath­er­ing, the mi­nor con­ser­va­tive Our Re­pub­li­can Party staged a rally nearby call­ing for the min­is­ter to step down. Many more con­ser­va­tive civic groups, in­clud­ing the Al­liance of Korean High School Alumni for Na­tional Se­cu­rity, also par­tic­i­pated.

Po­lice mo­bi­lized around 5,000 of­fi­cers to pre­vent clashes be­tween the two ral­lies, and erected a bar­ri­cade be­tween them. Only sev­eral mi­nor in­ci­dents were re­ported.

On the same day, the pros­e­cu­tion sum­moned the jus­tice min­is­ter’s wife Chung Kyung-sim, an English lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture pro­fes­sor at Dongyang Univer­sity, for the sec­ond time to ques­tion her over the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.

Chung was in­dicted early last month for forg­ing her school’s pres­i­den­tial ci­ta­tion so her daugh­ter could use it to be ad­mit­ted to Pu­san Na­tional Univer­sity Med­i­cal School. She is also al­legedly in­volved in du­bi­ous in­vest­ments in a pri­vate equity fund.

Korea Times photo by Bae Woo-han

Peo­ple hold a mas­sive rally in front of the Supreme Pros­e­cu­tors’ Of­fice in south­ern Seoul, Satur­day, to show sup­port for Jus­tice Min­is­ter Cho Kuk and the Moon Jae-in ad­min­is­tra­tion’s push for pros­e­cu­to­rial re­form.

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