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South Korea: Santa Protest Against President Park Geun-hye


South Koreans protesters dressed as Santa Claus have marched through the streets of Seoul calling for the immediate removal of President Park Geun-hye.

The festive protest marks the ninth week of rallies against the South Korean president.

Earlier this month South Korea’s parliament has voted to impeach Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal, but that decision has to be confirmed by the country’s constitutional court.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators demand the president to resign at once.

Organizers say more than 550,000 people joined the ranks marching towards the presidential Blue House, the prime minister’s office and the constitutional court. Police figures were not available.

The crowd chanted “Arrest Park immediately!” and sang along to Christmas songs whose lyrics they had changed to mock the president.

Between 200 and 300 young people in Santa outfits handed out books and Christmas cards to children at the demonstration, chanting: “Gifts to children and handcuffs to Park!”

The scandal which has engulfed President Park Geun-hye centers on her relationship with long-time friend Choi Soon-sil, who faces charges of coercion and abuse of power.

It is alleged that after Park Geun-hye became president in 2013, Choi Soon-sil, 60, used their friendship to pressure top companies into donating to foundations she controlled, and then siphoned off funds for her own gain.

Prosecutors are also investigating new allegations that Choi Soon-sil sent dubious assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars overseas.

Park Geun-hye’s one-time ally has been in custody since October, and was brought to a special prosecutors’ office to be questioned on December 24.

A spokesman for the special prosecutor told reporters: “We will question her to confirm her earlier statements and investigate other allegations.”

President Park Geun-hye has been suspended from her duties since the impeachment vote on December 9, but insists she will wait “calmly” until the constitutional court delivers its decision.

If the constitutional court confirms her impeachment, Park Geun-hye will be permanently removed from office, and elections will be held within 60 days.