Even though it was cold enough for snow, hundreds of thousands hit the streets of Seoul in protest of South Korean President Park Geun-hy.
Saturday’s protest was the latest of protests that have broken out since late October. The masses continue to join together in response to Park’s scandal.
“Park is accused of letting her confidante Choi Soon-sil, who does not hold an official government post, view confidential documents and presidential speeches. Choi is accused of using her relationship with Park to accumulate millions of dollars in donations to her foundations. Choi is charged with abuse of power, fraud and coercion, and two of Park’s former aides also face criminal charges,” writes CNN. “Park will not be charged because the South Korean Constitution affords the President immunity while holding office.”
The weekend’s protest organizers called for 2 million people of the nation of 50 million to join as president Park’s approval ratings are at an all-time-low. Thousands gathered with umbrellas, signs and candles near the Blue House, the presidential residence.
“For the fifth weekend running, crowds estimated from 500,000 to 1.5 million have thronged central Seoul to demand her ouster. On Saturday, hundreds of provincial farmers, many driving tractors, joined a demonstration that paralyzed the capital, shutting down streets spanning out from palatial Gwanghwaman square. As they gathered, performance artists and traditional Yonggo drummers competed for attention beneath a seated golden statue of 15th Century King Sejong,” writes Time.
Park is under tremendous pressure to resign before her end of term, which isn’t until February 2018.
“The presidential scandal started when CNN South Korean affiliate JTBC found evidence that Choi had received secret documents on an abandoned tablet device,” writes CNN. “Choi succeeded her father, Choi Tae-min, as leader of the Eternal Life Church after his death. For years, she has given Park spiritual guidance.”
But South Koreans aren’t only questioning her judgement and credibility as president, they are disappointed in the stagnating economy and the recent Sewol ferry sinking incident. 300 people were killed in the sinking and many believe that the government made detrimental systemic failures during the disaster.
“Everything is wrong with Korea,” said protesting train driver, Kim Seon-uk, to TIME. “Park needs to quit now.”
“We cannot wait even one day [for her to quit],” said protester Cho Mi-sun, a 51-year-old teacher, to TIME. “She’s not normal and too dangerous to rule this country.”
Author’s note: Isn’t it Ironic that president Park is being so condemned by her own country for being reckless with confidential documents, while Clinton was able to run as president without any consequences?
Editor’s note: While we don’t believe there is any danger of South Korea losing its tradition of democracy, this is a serious instability that could affect politics and markets around the world.