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Weekend rallies planned for Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve

South Koreans will continue to take to the streets for rallies before the year-end holidays to call for President Park Geun-hye to immediately resign and the Constitutional Court to promptly carry out her impeachment trial.

According to rally organizers, candlelight vigils are planned for the two remaining Saturdays of the year, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, to show that the “people’s democracy at Gwanghwamun will not die down until President Park Geun-hye resigns.”

“Our gathering (for the candlelight vigils) will continue until the Constitutional Court rules in favor of the people and we do not think that holidays will hinder the citizens showing ‘the power of the people’ on the streets,” said rally organizers.
Protesters hold candles at a rally held Saturday near the Constitutional Court in central Seoul. (Yonhap)
Protesters hold candles at a rally held Saturday near the Constitutional Court in central Seoul. (Yonhap)
A total of 8.2 million citizens have taken part in the protests since the first rally was held on Oct. 29 and organizers said the number is likely to surpass 10 million before the year-end.

As more families and couples are expected to join the rallies around the holiday season, organizers said they plan to come up with festivities and events for the candlelight vigil on Christmas Eve.

The organizers may also combine the rally on Dec. 31 with the city’s symbolical New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony at Bosingak, a large bell pavilion at Jongno near Gwanghwamun, to make the year’s last candlelight rally more eventful and meaningful.

Meanwhile, pro-Park civic groups such as Parksamo -- an abbreviation of “people who love Park Geun-hye” -- announced they would hold massive protests as a counterattack.

According to the pro-Park rally organizers, about 1 million people gathered Saturday to urge the Constitutional Court to dismiss Park’s impeachment. The police put the number at 33,000.

Organized by some 1,500 civic groups, the eighth candlelight vigil was held Saturday, a week after the passage of the impeachment motion against Park, with approximately 650,000 citizens participating in Seoul and 770,000 nationwide.

People marched toward the presidential house Cheong Wa Dae from Gwanghwamun Square, calling for Park to voluntarily resign and for acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn to step down. Many also gathered in front of the Constitutional Court to demand the judges rule in favor of the people by giving the verdict that Park’s impeachment is justified. 

By Kim Da-sol (