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Exam takers to join anti-Park rally

About 600,000 high school students will take the national college entrance exam Thursday and some of them plan to express their anger at the Choi Soon-sil scandal at a rally later in the evening.

High school seniors from a teen organization have registered to hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. on Thursday in front of the Bosingak Bell next to Jonggak Station in Seoul.

“Many high school seniors wanted to join last Saturday’s rally, but they could not because the exam was so close,” Choi Seo-hyun, secretary-general of a group called “Hope” was quoted by local media as saying.

“We expect a large turnout (for Thursday’s vigil,)” she added. 

Takers of Suneung, or the annual college scholastic ability test, are also likely to show up in droves at the upcoming nationwide anti-President Park Geun-hye rally Saturday.

A group of students check the location for their national college entrance exam. (Yonhap)

A group of students check the location for their national college entrance exam. (Yonhap)
At previous rallies, many teenagers in school uniforms were spotted holding signs lampooning the scandal-ridden president and state affairs.

The rally’s organizers -- a union of over 1,500 civic and labor groups -- are trying a different tactic this Saturday.

Instead of having all the participants flock to Seoul’s Gwanghwamun area, numerous smaller-scale rallies will take place all around the country.

A record-breaking 1 million people gathered in central Seoul last week to demand the resignation of the beleaguered Park, who is accused of letting her friend Choi manipulate state affairs behind the scenes.

Busan, the country’s second-largest city, might see as many as 100,000 protesters, according to a local rally organizer comprising some 100 civic organizations. 

Across the country, rallies are planned at some 100 locations.

A union of some 80 civic organizations in North Chungcheong Province expects a turnout of about 10,000 for its rally. On Jeju Island, a candlelight vigil is expected to draw up to 5,000 residents.

Meanwhile, an online club that supports President Park is planning to hold a counter-rally in front of Seoul Station on Saturday. While it is not clear how many of the 73,000-member group will turn up, it is highly likely they will be outnumbered by anti-Park protesters. Park’s approval rating remains at an abysmal 5 percent.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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