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Protesters hold 16th rally against Park

2017/02/18 21:29

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean protesters took to the streets Saturday calling for President Park Geun-hye's resignation, urging the Constitutional Court to promptly conclude the ouster of the president.

Park was impeached by the parliament in December over the influence-peddling scandal surrounding her confidante Choi Soon-sil, who allegedly exerted influence on state affairs and colluded with conglomerates for personal benefit.

The weekly rally, which marks the 16th of its kind, gathered some 700,000 protesters as of 7:30 p.m., the organizer said.

Protesters urged the Constitutional Court, currently reviewing the legitimacy of the impeachment, to promptly reach a conclusion, especially as Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Group's de facto leader, was formally arrested earlier this week on charges of bribery in connection with the scandal.

The participants also demanded Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn to extend the deadline of the independent counsel looking into the scandal initially set for Feb. 28.

Key presidential hopefuls from the opposition bloc, including Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party, and South Chungcheong Gov. An Hee-jung, also participated in the rally.

The weekly anti-Park rally is expected to continue down the road, with another gathering slated for March 1.

Along with the protest, Park's supporters, marked by their waving of the Korean flag, held their own protest in central Seoul.

South Korean police have deployed some 15,000 officers in central Seoul to prevent a possible collision between the two groups.

Protesters hold a candlelight rally at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul on Feb. 18, 2017, to call for President Park Geun-hye's resignation. (Yonhap) Protesters hold a candlelight rally at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul on Feb. 18, 2017, to call for President Park Geun-hye's resignation. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr

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