3rd protester dies as South Korea braces for more rallies

Image Protesters shout slogans during a rally calling for impeachment of President Park Geun-hye

Park's lawyer, Seo Seok-gu, who had previously compared her impeachment to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, called the verdict a "tragic decision" made under popular pressure and questioned the fairness of what he called a "kangaroo court".

That decision outraged the Chinese authorities and prompted a sweeping boycott of Korean goods in China and a crackdown on tourism to South Korea.

The secretaries, including Presidential Chief of Staff Han Gwang-ok, have been weighing the option apparently to take responsibility for their failure to properly assist Park.

She did not appear in court on Friday. A spokeswoman for the protesters supporting the court's decision, Choi In-sook, told Reuters they were demanding the arrest of their former leader.

So, think of Ms Park in the presidential palace on her last night, alone with her past.

But they are far apart on whether doing so would require rewriting the country's 3-decade-old constitution, a treasured symbol of the bloody transition from dictatorship to democracy. Pro-Park demonstrators gathered as well, in angry crowds, and three people died in the chaos.

Instead of promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, the military build-up would ramp up the risks of a full-blown confrontation in the region with South Korea bearing the brunt of any conflict, they said.

The emergence of a corruption scandal embroiling Park and her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil has stunned many South Koreans since she was portrayed as aloof figure and also an unassailable icon, especially among conservative voters.

The court said she had broken the law by allowing Ms Choi to meddle in state affairs, and had breached guidelines on official secrets by leaking numerous documents. The scandal also embroiled the head of Samsung.

The Japanese government considers it possible that a new South Korean president who succeeds Park could have anti-Japan and pro-North Korea political stances. On the other were citizens worn out by the past decade of hard-right rule. "She looked dejected", an unidentified aide was quoted as saying. "We must fix the system".

In a statement read out by a member of her political party on Sunday, Park said, "Although it will take time, I believe the truth will certainly come out". "This should unite the nation, but I'm anxious that we're getting off to a chaotic start".

"The communist opposition manipulated the media and bribed the court so that they kicked out President Park and grasped power", shouted one of her supporters, most of whom were well advanced in age.

And her removal from office has sharply divided the country.

The country's election commission says a "free and fair" vote will be held by 9 May at the latest.

Moon is leading in opinion polls which show South Koreans are likely to throw out the conservatives after almost a decade in power and turn to a liberal leader. The election will come at a hard moment, not only for the Korean peninsula but also for East Asia and, indeed, the entire world.

The political crisis has come at a time when rival North Korea is pushing ahead with its missile program and tension is brewing with China over a US missile-defense system being deployed inSouth Korea.

And the party's two leading presidential contenders have remarkably different tones on major issues, including the country's approach to belligerent North Korea. (This stance has invited allegations of Communist ties.) His profile and platform resemble that of the left-wing President he once worked for: Roh Moo-hyun.

When the ruling was announced, violence erupted in the streets of Seoul.

All of this history resonates now.

Quoting "people of Pyongyang", Choson Sinbo said that Park's impeachment was "punishment for the crimes during four years of rule".



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