Police in Seoul estimated that around 12,000 people have gathered in the streets to demand the resignation of South Korean president Park Geun-hye, who has recently been caught in an ever-worsening political scandal.
Park passed classified internal government documents such as her speech drafts and schedules to Choi Soon-sil, businesswoman and Park’s close friend of 40 years.
Standing in the center of the South Korean capital since the evening of Oct. 29, demonstrators held signs and candles while criticizing the president. The protest organizers say that 20,000 people have joined in the demonstration.
“As a [Korean] citizen, I cannot accept the lobbying and other shady business the Park administration has engaged in,” one man in the protest said. Others reported coming out to demand Choi’s arrest and to agitate for a more just society.
Choi Soon-sil has been widely compared to Rasputin, a monk and mystic who held sway over the Russian imperial family in the final years of the czars. Choi is the daughter of a Christian sect leader and was reported to have received about $70 million from Samsung and Hyundai for two nonprofits she set up.
On Oct. 31, in an attempt to cool public outrage, President Park made an apology to the nation and announced the resignation of various officials who had worked with Choi.