Protestors rallied in droves across Seoul’s streets on Saturday, demonstrating for the fourth weekend in a series of mass take to streets urging President Park Geun-Hye to resign over a corruption scandal.
The demonstrations put Park’s administration against a sizable challenge, but the president has defied all calls to step down.
Organizers said that protests in Seoul drew some 450,000 activists who chanted “Park Geun-Hye resign” as they gathered in central Seoul– police put the number at 155,000.
However, “We want to have a peaceful protest,” Nam Jeong-Su, spokesman for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, told AFP.
“Park simply doesn’t feel ashamed of the wrongs she and her friend did. She must go,” said Kim Myung-Hee, 30.
The anti-Park movements continued despite two televised apologies from the president over a scandal linked to her friendship with long-time confidante Choi Soon-Sil, who has been arrested for fraud and abuse of power.
Prosecutors have been investigating allegations that Choi, 60, leveraged their relationship to coerce donations from large companies like Samsung to non-profit foundations which she set up and used for personal gain.
The scandal has paralyzed the Park administration and caused the president to pull out of a gathering of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders in Peru next week.
But after a lengthy hiatus, Park has visibly returned to normal duties and announced she will attend an annual summit with China and Japan in Tokyo next month.
The presidential Blue House said Park was receiving baskets of flowers from supporters, and some 5,000 people joined a small pro-Park rally held before the main protest.
The Blue House is the executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of state, the President of the Republic of Korea, and is located in the capital city of Seoul.