Rallies in support of prosecutorial reform grow
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.
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.