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South Korea Leader’s Supporters, Opponents Clash in Seoul Rallies

  • VOA News

Supporters of South Korean President Park Geun-hye attend a protest opposing her impeachment near the constitutional court in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 17, 2016.

Tensions were high as supporters of impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye and opponents of Park, who had gathered in much larger numbers, rallied in Seoul on Saturday.

Supporters of Park, who was impeached December 9, rallied for her reinstatement, while opponents gathered for an eighth week to repeat their demands that the leader impeached over a corruption scandal step down immediately.

Despite a heavy police presence separating the two groups, there were reports of some yelling and shoving among the protesters. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Park’s supporters last held a major rally in mid-November. Organizers estimated more than 300,000 anti-Park protesters were at the rally.

Park, 64, is accused of colluding with her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil to force Korean conglomerates to donate nearly $65 million to two dubious foundations. Choi is also being investigated for funneling foundation funds and lucrative side contracts to herself and her friends.

Park’s lawyers argued Friday the impeachment had no legal basis, which motivated some protesters Saturday.

Protesters shout slogans during a rally against the impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 17, 2016.
Protesters shout slogans during a rally against the impeached South Korean President Park Geun-hye in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 17, 2016.

“I can’t stand Park for even another day. Nobody wants her, but she’s stubbornly sticking around, using taxpayer money like it’s her money,” Kim Eun-young, who participated in her third weekend protest, told the Associated Press on Saturday.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn assumed the role as government caretaker after Park was impeached.

The Constitutional Court is reviewing the impeachment motion, a process that can take up to six months. If the court affirms, a new presidential election will be scheduled within two months of the ruling.

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