Socialist Worker

South Korea: 'the week of destiny has begun'

by Workers Solidarity (South Korean sister organisation of the SWP)
Issue No. 2544

On the streets last Saturday

On the streets last Saturday (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


Almost a million people took to the streets of Seoul, capital of South Korea, last Saturday to demand the immediate resignation of President Park Geun-hye. This was the nineteenth protest organised by the movement against Park since October.

In all, the number of participants in these protests exceeds 15 million.

Such a huge movement produced the political pressure that forced the parliament to impeach Park in early December.

This impeachment vote needs to be confirmed by the Constitutional Court before it takes effect. The court’s ruling is widely expected to be announced this Friday or next Monday.

Many newspapers have said that “the week of destiny has begun.”

The movement has kept up the pressure on the authorities, and on Monday this week the Special Prosecutor announced that Park had colluded with her friend Choi Soon-sil to receive bribes of £30 million from the giant Samsung company.

Since January, Park has been calling on her supporters to take to the streets.

Right-wing forces responded by mobilising more than 100,000 last Wednesday and again on Saturday.

In response many people felt the need to increase the size of the protests demanding Park’s resignation.

This is why the most recent two Saturday protests mobilised about 1 million each in Seoul.

Nearly a million took part in the last demonstration

Nearly a million took part in the last demonstration (Pic: Workers Solidarity)


Despite the right wing forces counter-movement, recent polls show that about 80 percent want the president out. Among people in their twenties and thirties, the figure was above 90 percent.

Two-thirds of the people who support a presidential resignation say they won’t accept a court ruling to nullify the impeachment. The KCTU trade union federation says it will call a general strike if the court sets aside the impeachment.

But there is no room for complacency.

As the Special Prosecutor dug up Park’s wrongdoings, the prime minister appointed by Park aborted its investigation.

This prime minister has continued with Park’s policies. He sacked 89 rail workers who led a strike last year and is speeding up the deployment of US missile defence equipment in Korea.

The moderate forces within the movement hesitate to organise counter-protests against the right-wing forces and also argue that the movement should dissipate as soon as possible if it wins the impeachment ruling. T

This is because the potential presidential candidate from the main bourgeois opposition party—the Democratic Party—is currently leading in the polls. They are afraid that continuing the movement will deepen the political polarisation and make it more difficult for the next government to rule the country.

The radical lefts are arguing against them within the movement and calling for larger mobilisations. Last Saturday these radical lefts cooperated to hold an independent demonstration before participating in the main rally.

Protests are scheduled to take place on the day before the Constitutional Court ruling, on the day of the ruling itself, and on Saturday 11 March.

A South Korean socialist who has taken part in the recent mass protests against Park will join by Skype a meeting in London on Russia 1917: a festival of the oppressed and workers' revolution, tomorrow, Wednesday 8 March, 7pm, Student Central, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY. For details go to https://www.facebook.com/events/1019538211523436/?

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