On October 29, South Korean people took to the streets to demand “Park Geun-hye Step Down!” and show their outrage over Park Geun-hye’s involvement in the recent government corruption scandal. Over 30,000 people participated in the demonstration, which was three times the expected participation.
(Citizens marching towards the Blue House; Video – Voice of People)
The scandal, also referred to as “Choi Soon-sil Gate,” has exposed Park Geun-hye to have shared major classified government documents with her close friend, Choi Soon-sil, who lacked official security clearance to legally access government files. Evidence has also emerged suggesting Choi’s involvement in influencing important government decisions made by Park Geun-hye during her presidency.
Mayor of Seongnam City, Lee Jae-myung, joined the protest. He said Park Geun-hye has lost all credibility and the right to serve as president. He added, “The owner of this country is the people, therefore all power should come from the people. The president is not supposed to be a ruler but a servant of the people.”
Others also spoke of state violence and repression by the Park administration preceding the eruption of the government corruption scandal. The president of the Catholic Farmers’ Association, Jeong Hyung-chan, spoke about the killing of Baek Nam-gi by the police – “The government, not satisfied with killing him with a water cannon, attempted to kill farmer Baek Nam-gi again by slicing him up into pieces (via autopsy). However, the people were able to protect him… Park Geun-hye should no longer drive the people into more pain but resign immediately.”
Families of the victims of the Sewol Ferry tragedy also pointed out the need for an investigation into the connection between Choi Soon-sil’s interference into government affairs and the seven crucial hours during which Park Geun-hye was missing as the Sewol Ferry was sinking and its passengers were awaiting rescue.
Voices demanding an end to the Park Geun-hye regime grew louder throughout the evening as masses marched on the streets of Seoul. Riot cops blocked off certain streets in an attempt to prevent people from peacefully protesting in the streets. The protesters confronted the police for close to three hours and repeatedly chanted, “Violent cops, back off! Park Geun-hye, resign!”
(Marching citizens in the streets blocked by riot police; Video – Media Mongu)
The acting president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), Choi Jong-jin, called on the South Korean people to join together again on November 12 for the People Power Mobilization. Choi stated, “The people are demanding the reversal of the U.S. THAAD deployment decision, a full investigation of the truth behind the Sewol Ferry tragedy, and policy changes that will put workers and farmers before chaebols… On November 12, let us bring out one million loud voices to bring down Park Geun-hye from her presidency.”
By ZoominKorea staff
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