Ral­lies held for and against Jus­tice Min­is­ter Cho Kuk

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL -

Sup­port­ers of Korea’s em­bat­tled jus­tice min­is­ter, Cho Kuk, staged an­other mas­sive can­dlelit vigil right in front of the pros­e­cu­tion’s head­quar­ters in south­ern Seoul on Satur­day, as Cho’s wife was grilled again by in­ves­ti­ga­tors over her al­leged role in the fraud and cor­rup­tion scan­dal that has roiled the coun­try for more than two months.

Within a stone’s throw of the place, a smaller group of anti-Cho pro­test­ers also had a rally, putting po­lice on high alert.

The streets near the Seo­cho sub­way sta­tion were packed with those car­ry­ing can­dles or re­lated im­ages as well as ban­ners and signs that read “Pro­tect Cho Kuk,” “Re­form Pros­e­cu­tion,” “Re­form Me­dia” and “Ul­ti­ma­tum.”

It re­flects their view that state pros­e­cu­tors are con­duct­ing a witch hunt against Cho, a for­mer law pro­fes­sor known as an ar­chi­tect of the Moon Jae-in ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pros­e­cu­tion re­form plan.

Cheong Wa Dae and the rul­ing Demo­cratic Party are seek­ing to give more in­ves­tiga­tive power to po­lice and create a spe­cial agency look­ing into cor­rup­tion cases in­volv­ing high-rank­ing gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Cho’s fam­ily has faced an in­ten­sive probe by pros­e­cu­tors since he was nom­i­nated in early Au­gust to lead the Min­istry of Jus­tice with a mis­sion to com­plete the re­form drive.

Al­most no day has since passed with­out news of the scan­dal mak­ing head­lines in the coun­try.

The or­ga­niz­ing group would not re­veal its of­fi­cial es­ti­mate of the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants. It also an­nounced a plan to sus­pend the week­end can­dlelit vig­ils.

“It’s a tem­po­rary halt, not an end,” a coali­tion of­fi­cial said. “Can­dles will be back on any­time soon if the pros­e­cu­tion shows a move to re­sist re­form.”

A group of con­ser­va­tive ac­tivists also had a rally call­ing for the ar­rest of Cho and the ouster of Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in.

It was or­ga­nized by Our Repub­li­can Party, which sup­ports Moon’s im­peached pre­de­ces­sor Park Ge­un­hye.

The party claimed that at least 100,000 peo­ple took part in the rally.

More than 5,000 po­lice have been mo­bi­lized there to keep a close eye on the pos­si­bil­ity of clashes and other in­ci­dents.

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