- Title: Businesses in central Seoul thrive due to weekend protest
- Date: 4th December 2016
- Summary: SINGER SINGING ON STAGE DURING PROTEST VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS WAVING CANDLELIGHT PROTESTERS CLAPPING/ PROTEST IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 19th December 2016 06:34
- Keywords: South Korea politics protest Park Geun-hye businesses thrive rally weekends
- Location: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- City: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: South Korea
- Reuters ID: LVA0025BGW5L1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: While South Korea's weekly protests against President Park Geun-hye have continued on for six consecutive weeks in downtown Seoul, restaurant businesses in the area have thrived.
As hungry protesters march through Gwanghwamun square, the centre stage of huge weekly demonstrations calling for South Korean President Park Geun-hye to step down, nearby restaurant owners hustle to prepare for a busy night ahead.
For Cho Joung-suk, the owner of Gwanghwamun Yeontanjib, a restaurant that specializes in grilled eel, the weekend sales had boosted her business.
"We've prepared three to four times more than usual and set up seven more tables outside. Many people sit at the outdoor tables so we're very busy because of the protests. Sales are 30-40% higher than usual," said Cho.
On Saturday (December 3) the crowd numbers reached 1.6 million by 8.30 p.m. local time (1130GMT), according to protest organisers. Many protesters headed off to restaurants in the area to eat dinner after hours of marches and candle-waving.
"As you can see, there are many government offices and businesses in this area, so sales on the weekend are almost nonexistent. It's usually deserted. But with the recent weekend protests, our weekend revenues are higher than the weekday, almost double," said, Kim Song-ryul, an owner of a chicken and beer joint, Geosung Hof.
The anti-Park protests have been peaceful and festive. Rappers and musical actors took to the stage in Gwanghwamun square, while protesters chanted and took part in synchronised Mexican waves. Families from all over the country also came to Seoul to protest.
"The reason I came out here with my children is because I feel there is no better learning opportunities to pass on to them than this, particularly an opportunity to learn about democracy," said, a 48-year-old Lee Seung-won, who took part in the rally with his daughter and son.
Park is accused of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, who has been accused of abuse of power, to put undue pressure on conglomerates to contribute money to foundations that were set up to promote her policy initiatives.
She made her third televised speech about the scandal on Tuesday (November 29) and asked the parliament to find a way for her to give up power and decide when she should step down. The opposition has rejected Park's move as a delaying tactic to avoid impeachment.
The three opposition parties have enough members to hold a parliamentary impeachment vote on Park on December 9 but will need 28 members from Park's Saenuri Party to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill.
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