A large-scale rally calling for Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s resignation is expected to last all night.
Hundreds of thousands gathered Thursday afternoon in Gwanghwamun Square, central Seoul, to protest the minister over spiraling corruption allegations against his family.
The anti-Cho rally kicked off at around 1 p.m., and the protesters marched toward Cheong Wa Dae at around 4 p.m. only to be halted by a police barricade.
Police block protesters from approaching Cheong Wa Dae. (Kim Arin/The Korea Herald)
Former governor Kim addresses the crowd of protesters. Banner behind him reads, "Impeach Moon Jae-in." (Kim Arin/The Korea Herald)
The police blocked the way, preventing the protesters from getting too close to the presidential residence, and were still in a standoff with the crowd as of 10:40 p.m. 46 were arrested for attempting to break through the barricade.
Near the barricade was a stage where former Gyeonggi Gov. Kim Moon-soo addressed the crowd. Kim was among the conservative politicians who had their heads shaved Sept. 17 to protest Cho’s appointment as justice minister.
“Whatever you do, do not confront the police,” Kim told the protesters. “Remember, this is a peaceful protest.
“We can do this all night long. We’ll be here tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that,” he said.
Behind Kim was a huge banner that read “Impeach Moon Jae-in.”
The protest seemed to have attracted an older demographic, but there were also groups of young college students holding school banners.
While the crowd dissipated as the evening wore on, the atmosphere near the police line remained heated late into the night.
“We won’t go home until we reach Cheong Wa Dae,” the protesters chanted.
A police officer at the scene told The Korea Herald police are unable to withdraw from position until the rally disbanded.
By Kim Arin (firstname.lastname@example.org