Park Geun-hye under growing pressure after admission that she let a friend and daughter of a religious cult leader interfere in important state affairs
Thousands of South Koreans took to the streets of the capital on Saturday calling for increasingly unpopular president Park Geun-hye to step down over allegations that she let an old friend, the daughter of a religious cult leader, interfere in important state affairs. The evening protest came after Park ordered 10 of her senior secretaries to resign over a scandal that is likely to deepen the presidents lame duck status ahead of next years election.
Holding candles and signs reading Whos the real president? and Park Geun-hye, step down, the protesters marched through downtown Seoul after holding a candlelight vigil near City Hall. Police estimated that about 12,000 people turned out for the biggest anti-government demonstration in Seoul in months.
Park ordered 10 of her senior secretaries to resign after she admitted letting an old friend and the daughter of a religious cult leader to interfere in important state affairs.
Park has been facing calls to reshuffle her office after she admitted on Tuesday that she had provided longtime friend Choi Soon-sil drafts of her speeches for editing. Her televised apology sparked huge criticism about her mismanagement of national information. She had already become unpopular for what some saw as a heavy-handed leadership style and lack of transparency.
There has also been media speculation that Choi, who holds no government job, meddled in government decisions on personnel and policy, and exploited her ties with the president to misappropriate funds from nonprofit organisations.
The saga, triggered by weeks of media reports, has sent Parks approval ratings to record lows and the minority opposition Justice party has called for her to resign.