- Title: South Korean president faces resignation calls at huge protest rally
- Date: 12th November 2016
- Summary: PROTESTERS CHANTING, ONE HOLDING SIGN READING (English): "NOT MY PRESIDENT!"
- Embargoed: 27th November 2016 14:02
- Keywords: protest demonstration rally South Korea Asia government
- Location: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- City: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0085850E2T
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: South Korean President Park Geun-hye faced mounting pressure to step down on Saturday (November 12) as hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched in the capital to protest allegations that she let a friend meddle in state affairs.
Saturday's candlelight rally in downtown Seoul was the largest so far in a crisis engulfing Park, 64, and organisers said some 850,000 people packed streets running through the city centre including a 12-lane thoroughfare. Police estimated the crowd at 260,000.
Students, families including young couples pushing strollers and protesters in wheelchairs were among the crowd during the peaceful march, which contrasted with the violence of some previous rallies dominated by militant unions and civic groups that clashed with police.
"This bad person, who was not elected by us, has been controlling the country. I was angry because she [South Korean President Park Geun-hye] was nothing but a puppet. I am furious for all these reasons," 50-year-old protester Park Je-sang, who attended the protest with his wife, said.
"Park Geun-hye! Today! Step down! Immediately! Step down! Now!" protesters chanted a few hundred metres (yards) from the presidential Blue House.
It was the third weekend protest rally since Park's first public apology on October 25 when she admitted she had sought the advice of her friend, Choi Soon-sil.
Park's acknowledgement only served to fuel public anger and suspicion over the secret confidant, who apparently held no official government position.
Another apology by Park and an offer to work with the parliamentary opposition to form a new cabinet and relinquish some power also failed to quell the crisis, prompting opponents to say she did not grasp its severity.
Park has dismissed some of her most senior and closest advisers, and former aides have been arrested on charges of abuse of power. Choi, the friend who is believed to have been acquainted with the president since the 1970s, has been charged with abuse of power and fraud.
Members of main opposition parties joined Saturday's rally, suggesting there is growing support in parliament for action to remove her from power, although there was no formal move yet to launch impeachment proceedings.
No South Korean president has ever failed to finish their five-year term.
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