South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s two apologies have not quelled some Koreans’ anger over an abuse-of-power scandal engulfing her administration.
Thousands took to the streets in Seoul on Saturday, calling for Park to step down and blocking a 16-lane highway in the capital. Police said the crowd had 40,000 to 50,000 people; organizers said 100,000 protested.
Park is accused of letting her confidante Choi Soon-sil, who does not hold an official government post, view confidential documents and presidential speeches.
Local media and opposition parties have accused Choi of using her relationship with Park to accumulate millions of dollars in donations to her foundations.
Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Choi on Wednesday on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud.
People of all ages, including children with their families, held candles and signs in Saturday’s peaceful demonstrations and chanted for Park’s resignation, easily within shouting distance of the presidential palace. Local leaders gave speeches between musical performances.
“This sort of corruption happened during her father’s time, but 40 years later, things like this are met with resistance from the public,” one protester told CNN.
Another, holding a candle and with her child beside her, said: “I brought my child so that she could witness democracy in action, and also to show her this dark time in our history.”