South Korea impeachment: Critics urge Park Geun-hye arrest

Image captionAnti-Park protesters in Seoul. The sign reads “Go to prison”

Ousted South Korean leader Park Geun-hye is keeping her silence as calls grow for her arrest.

Ms Park was forced from office on Friday, after judges unanimously upheld parliament’s decision to impeach her over her role in a corruption scandal involving close friend, Choi Soon-sil.

Despite the ruling, she remains inside the presidential compound.

Thousands turned out for rallies in Seoul on Saturday, a day after three people involved in protests died there.

Many were calling for Ms Park’s arrest, although a smaller number of her supporters also gathered in nearby streets.

There are fears the two sides may clash and there is a heavy police presence.

A third person, aged 74, is understood to have had a heart attack during Friday’s protests, and died on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Ms Park’s office said she would not be leaving the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential palace, on Friday nor making any statement.

It is understood she will not leave until her own home in Seoul is repaired and cleaned.


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A spokeswoman for the protesters supporting the court’s decision, Choi In-sook, told Reuters they were demanding the arrest of their former leader.

Ms Park has lost her presidential immunity and could face criminal charges.

Meanwhile, the country’s election commission announced a “free and fair” vote would be held by 9 May at the latest.

Supporters of the president turned out on SaturdayImage copyrightAP
Image captionSupporters of the president also turned out on Saturday

Currently, Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party is leading in the polls, with one survey putting him almost 22% ahead of his nearest rival, acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is loyal to Ms Park.

Mr Hwang has called for calm, saying the government should remain stable to prevent internal conflict from spreading.

However, police are bracing themselves for more violence following the deaths of two of Ms Park’s supporters on Friday.

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