Asia

Park Geun-hye impeached: South Korea rally demands full removal

Fireworks illuminate the sky during a rally against South Korean President Park Geun-Hye on 10 December Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Anti-Park protesters gathered in Seoul for the seventh consecutive weekend

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have marched in the South Korean capital, Seoul, to celebrate the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.

Gathering for the seventh weekend in a row, demonstrators held candles and demanded Ms Park's definitive removal.

She is suspended while the top court considers whether to uphold Friday's parliamentary vote to impeach her.

Ms Park is accused of allowing a close friend to profit from her connections with the presidency.

The crowd, estimated at 200,000 by organisers, was smaller than in recent weeks, correspondents say.

"We demand that the Constitutional Court make a decision of conscience and justice and do not act against the will of the people," Jung Kang-ja, one of the organisers, said in a speech.

Image copyright Getty Images

Meanwhile Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who became acting president after Friday's vote, sought to calm concerns over national security and to reassure markets

"So far, financial and foreign exchange markets have been relatively stable and there are no signs of unusual movements by the North [Koreans], but all public servants should bear vigilance in mind," Mr Hwang said on Saturday.

The motion to impeach Ms Park passed by 234 votes to 56, meaning many members of her Saenuri party voted in favour.

Her supporters held a Seoul rally that drew an estimated 15,000 people on Saturday. Waving national flags, they carried banners that read: "President Park, Don't Cry" and "Nullify impeachment".

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Media captionPresident Park's life in politics

At the heart of the case is her relationship with long-time friend Choi Soon-sil, who faces charges of coercion and abuse of power.

It is alleged that after Ms Park became president in 2013, Ms Choi, 60, used their friendship to pressure powerful corporations into donating to foundations she controlled and then siphoned off funds for her personal use.

Prosecutors say Ms Park had a "considerable" role in the alleged corruption, which she has denied.

The Constitutional Court has 180 days to make a final ruling.

If at least six of the court's nine judges rule against Ms Park, she will become the first sitting South Korean president to be deposed in the country's democratic era and a new presidential election will be held within 60 days.

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