Asia

South Korean anger over nude Park painting

Artist Lee Koo-Young shows his damaged work "dirty sleep", a painting portraying South Korea"s President Park Geun-Hye in the nude, after some conservative protesters damaged the artwork during an exhibition of painting parodies in the lobby of the National Assembly building in Seoul on January 24, 2017. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The painting shows Ms Park sleeping while the Sewol ferry, which sank three years ago killing nearly 400 people, goes down

A nude painting of South Korean President Park Geun-hye has caused anger, as a political scandal continues to grip the country.

The painting, part of an exhibition at the National Assembly, was torn down by supporters of Ms Park on Tuesday.

Inspired by Edouard Manet's Olympia, "Dirty Sleep", also shows Ms Park's close friend Choi Soon-sil as a servant bringing her flowers.

The two women both deny accusations of colluding in corruption.

Ms Park was impeached by politicians for her role in the scandal last year and stripped of her officials duties. The constitutional court has until June to either approve the decision or reinstate her.

Ms Choi is accused of using her relationship with the president to extract donations from corporations to foundations she runs. She has been charged with attempted coercion, abuse of authority and attempted fraud.

The painting at the centre of the row shows Ms Park sleeping while the Sewol ferry, which sank three years ago killing 304 people, most of them students, goes down outside the window.

Ms Park has long been criticised for her handling of the disaster.

On Wednesday, the floor leader of the main opposition party condemned the lawmaker who organised the exhibit saying parliament "would have not remained silent if someone had drawn a nude painting of former President Roh Moo-hyun when he was impeached", Yonhap news agency reported.

Also on Wednesday there were dramatic scenes at the special prosecutors office, where Ms Choi had been made to attend questioning. She has refused to attend for a month, citing ill health.

On arrival, she shouted to reporters that she had been pressured to admit guilt.

"I am being forced to confess committing crimes jointly with the president," she said, according to local media, while being escorted.

A spokesman for the special prosecutor said the allegation of coercion was "completely groundless".

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