Weeks of protests in South Korea’s capital Seoul reached a climax on Sunday, which saw over 1 million protesters take to the streets in a symbolic sign of solidarity against the current government. President Park-Geun-hye is under intense public scrutiny for allegedly colluding with former state worker, Choi-Soon-sil. It is believed that Ms. Choi used her ties with the current president to lure large businesses to increase their monetary support for her own charities.
In recent weeks, support for Ms. Park has dropped to an all-time low whereby her disapproval rating is at 95 percent, 3 percent lower than the last poll. This comes amongst widespread belief that she should step down from her current position. As reported by Reuters, protestor Kwak-Bo-Yuon said: “I was watching on the news and thought this cannot go on.” Many other protestors are also of the political persuasion that President Park should resign.
President Park has publicly spoken and condemned her actions, however, she is adamant to not step down and to see out her presidential term until 2018. Under the current constitution, it is not mandatory for a president to resign unless he or she has committed treason. However, despite this, the current opposition party is looking to vote on impeachment measures in the South Korean parliament, in a strong effort to rid the current president. Members of Ms. Park’s own party have also vowed to vote against their leader.
Despite apologizing twice for the corruption allegations, her decision to remain as president is exactly what protestors do not want. They will continue to fill the streets of Seoul until they see adequate and responsive changes within the current government. It is without a doubt that her party would be in a stronger position for the 2018 elections with a temporary government, effective immediately.
25,000 officials were deployed on the main streets of Seoul to regulate and control the enormous crowd that shook the streets of the capital. Police and officials refrained from giving an exact number of protestors.
Seoul police have so far labeled the protests as peaceful, which may seem surprising due to the extremely large crowd figures. Exercising self-determination in a respectful and meaningful manner should be highly commended and should act as a moral model that many politically unstable nation states should adopt.