Last candlelit rally celebrates Park’s impeachment

By Kim Bo-eun

The 20th and final weekly rally was held at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Saturday, to celebrate ousting President Park Geun-hye, over four months after the eruption of a widespread corruption and influence-peddling scandal implicating her.

A festive mood was prevalent at the rally attended by an estimated 650,000, where rock stars such as Jeon In-kwon and Han Young-ae performed, and fireworks lit up the skies of Gwanghwamun.

While sharing the joy over Park’s impeachment, participants called for the completion of remaining tasks. These include the arrest of the former President for her involvement in the scandal, the trials of others involved in the scandal, and for acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is viewed as continuing the Park administration, to step down.

Organizers recited a declaration drawn up by citizens, which called for the existing system of politics and business to be reformed, the guarantee of basic rights in labor and social welfare, and an end to discrimination related to gender and social minorities.

“The candles we lit symbolized anger against a reality in which the principles of democracy and human rights were being violated by a minority who monopolized power,” they said.

“The participants of the candlelit rallies know that impeachment of unjust power is not the end of the journey, but the start of another one toward a new order.”

Organizers said another protest will be held on April 15, marking the third anniversary of the Sewol ferry disaster. Park is suspected to have been absent from duty on the day of the tragedy, but this was excluded from the grounds of upholding her impeachment, which angered the public and bereaved family members. In addition, the government has yet to salvage the sunken ferry, which has been delayed despite calls from family members of victims who still remain unaccounted for.

An accumulated 16.58 million took part in the 20 weekly protests held since Oct. 29, when the scandal involving Park and her confidant Choi Soon-sil erupted.

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