South Korea sees 1.5 million protest against President Park Geun-hye

  • 27/11/2016

An estimated 1.5 million people rallied in central Seoul on Saturday for a fifth week of protests against President Park Geun-hye, in the largest ongoing series of demonstrations in South Korea in decades.

This has been the largest protest yet demanding Park's resignation since news of her political scandal came to light earlier this year. It surpassed the June 1987 rally in which about one million people protested against the military dictatorship at the time.

Park's presidency has been rocked by allegations that a long-time confidant, Choi Soon-sil, used her ties to the leader to meddle in state affairs and wield improper influence. Prosecutors investigating the case have indicted Ms Choi and are seeking to question Ms Park about her role in the scandal.

The protests, now in their fifth week, have remained peaceful and marked by massive candle-lit rallies.

Earlier in the day, demonstrators of all ages, many holding banners and chanting slogans, marched through the Gwanghwamun Square to within 200 meters of the presidential palace, where Park resides.

Around 25,000 police officers were mobilized to brace for a possibility that the rally turn violent and to prevent some protesters from marching inside the Blue House.

Ms Park, whose five-year term ends in February 2018, has apologized over the affair but is resisting calls for her resignation. Opposition parties are canvassing for support to impeach her.

At least two-thirds of the 300-seat National Assembly is required to vote for the impeachment bill to be passed in the parliament. Opposition parties said it would put the bill to vote as early as next Friday.

Ms Park's approval rating has dropped to a record low 4 percent.