November 07, 2016 09:31
A massive candlelight protest in Gwanghwamun, Seoul on Saturday drew an estimated 45,000 citizens calling for President Park Geun-hye to step down over a crony scandal.
The protest followed a second, more fulsome apology by Park for giving a longtime friend unprecedented access to the presidential office and easing her path to fabulous wealth, which signally failed to appease protesters.
Saturday's turnout was anything between four and 10 times as high as the previous weekend's. Protesters included many families, from fathers carrying their kids on their shoulders to elderly people holding the hands of grandchildren.
Balmy autumn weather also helped encourage people to take to the streets.
There were almost no clashes between protesters and police, who had turned out in record numbers of almost 20,000 officers. Whenever some protesters started an argument with police, citizens chanted "No violence!"
The protesters marched through the streets after rallying in Gwanghwamun at 4 p.m. calling for truth of the scandal to be revealed. The march went ahead thanks to a last-minute injunction against a police ban from a civic group.
Around 8 p.m., protesters gathered at the plaza again to light candles. They blocked the road between the statue of King Sejong in Gwanghwamun and the Seoul Press Center near City Hall and sat down on the road, listening to songs and speeches. It officially ended around 9 p.m., but some continued to protest far into the night.
Similar protests were held across the country, including Busan, Daejeon, and Gwangju. Some 1,500 people took part in a protest in Daegu, Park's political base.
Organizers estimated the total number of protesters throughout the country at 300,000 and are planning another rally on Nov. 12.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com