S. Korea’s Impeached Leader Silent as Protests Continue
South Korea’s recently impeached president Park Geun-hye maintained her silence Saturday, remaining inside the presidential palace while rival protests continued in the streets.
Park has not been heard from since the Constitutional Court voted unanimously to uphold her impeachment on Friday and has not vacated the “Blue House” as the presidential residence is called, where her aides have said she requires more time to prepare for her move to her private home.
Tens of thousands of Koreans who supported the ouster took to the streets over the weekend, cheering and waving flags, while another group of those who supported Park vowed to resist what they call “political assassination.”
Seoul police anticipated violence between the two groups, particularly after three protesters were killed in clashes since the decision was announced.
The stunning and sudden collapse of Park’s presidency was caused by allegations that a multi-million dollar influence-peddling scandal was being run out of the Blue House.
In December, 234 members of the 300-seat National Assembly voted to impeach Park.
The president’s image as a strong and incorruptible leader crumbled under allegations her longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil, secretly exploited her close relationship with Park to force Korean conglomerates to donate some $65 million to two dubious foundations, while at the same time funneling some of the funds and lucrative side contracts to companies owned by herself and her friends.