For the fourth weekend in a row, thousands of people took to Seoul’s streets today in an ongoing mass public protest.

The protesters want President Park Geun-hye to resign, following allegations that she allowed a close friend, Choi Soon-sil, to manipulate power behind the scenes. The president has already given a public apology, but for many people, it’s not enough – and they’re staging the daytime and evening candle-lit protests to show her, and the world, their feelings. As countless news reports show, the protesting crowd is very diverse, with a mix of older folks, high school kids and whole family groups joining in.

Al Jazeera’s report from 12 Nov

The protests are getting a lot of worldwide coverage, as they are the biggest ones seen in the country since the June Uprising of 1987, when thousands of people took to the streets to protest for democracy. Students led many of the first protests, but soon the entire country became swept up in supportive protests and unionised strikes during this year.

June Uprising and following protests background

Mass protests organised by labor unions and student groups are more frequent in South Korea than you may expect. This is not even the first mass protest during Park Geun-hye’s presidency. In September 2015, thousands took to the same streets to violently protest labour laws and changes to school history textbooks. See this BBC article for more.

From these past events right up to today’s protests, it’s clear that Koreans of all ages are passionate about showing their feelings towards the political powers that be. Keep up to date with the latest on the protests on the BBC Asia pages.


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British writer and editor living in Japan. Currently studying Japanese, Korean, K-pop dance, and the fine form of 이성종's legs.