Critics of South Korea's impeached president Park call for her arrest
- Author: Jon Douglas Mar 12, 2017,
Mar 12, 2017, 0:08
Carrying signs and candles, the crowd cheered to speeches and swayed to music Friday night, while angry supporters of Park continued to scuffle with police in streets near the court. Park was impeached in December, 2016 on charges of receiving bribe from businesses and abusing her powers in a scheme with her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil. Outside the courthouse in the capital Seoul on Friday, thousands of Park's supporters tried to break through police barricades. Police said two protesters had died.
An official from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency says seven officers are also being treated for mostly minor injuries.
Ms Park had been suspended from presidential duties since December, with the country's prime minister taking over her responsibilities.
Both the court and acting President Hwang Kyo-Ahn appealed for the country to come together and move forward.
Ms Choi is accused of using her presidential connections to pressure some of South Korea's biggest companies into giving millions of dollars in donations to two non-profit foundations she controlled. Additionally, Park was accused of allowing Choi an undue influence in state affairs. Park had immunity from prosecution while in power.
The Park scandal touched a nerve, galvanizing popular opinion against entrenched political and business elites in a political sea change in the country of which the fallout is still far from decided.
4 Nov, 2016: Ms Park makes her second televised apology, saying she would take responsibility if found guilty.
A presidential election will be held within 60 days.
Relations with China and the United States could dominate the presidential campaign, after South Korea this month began deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defence system in response to North Korea's stepped up missile and nuclear tests.
Kim Yong-deok, the chief of the National Election Commission, said on Saturday that the election would be managed "accurately and perfectly" and urged the public to participate in a vote that would "determine the fate of the Republic of Korea", referring to South Korea's formal name.
In a statement detailing the findings of its investigation, the special prosecutor's office said the National Pension Service voted in favor of a merger of two Samsung Group affiliates in 2015, despite anticipating a $158 million loss.