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South Korean expats protest election meddling by government bodies

South Korean expats protest election meddling by government bodies

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Published : 2013-12-21 11:35
Updated : 2013-12-21 11:35

South Koreans living abroad in such places as Paris and Berlin have held candle light vigils this week to protest the meddling of last year's presidential election by government bodies, sources said Saturday.

   Organizers of the rallies that took place in Paris and Berlin said dozens of protesters showed up on or near the one-year anniversary of the Dec. 19 election to denounce namely the National Intelligence Service, the country's spy agency, and the defense ministry's psychological warfare unit for their involvement in illegally meddling in the election.

   Officials at the two agencies had used various online portals and social networking sites leading up to the December poll to conduct a smear campaign against the opposition contender. Those directly involved have been indicted for violating their duty as public officials to maintain political neutrality.

   Though the effects that such tactics may have had on the outcome of the election are disputed, the opposition has insisted that it helped the ruling party's candidate win and hurt its own contender for the country's top post.

   The ruling camp and the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae have brushed off such claims as being groundless.

   President Park Geun-hye, who was the standard bearer for the conservative Saenuri Party and won the race by little over a million votes, a relatively large margin considering past local elections, said on numerous occasions that she neither knew about the smear operations at the time nor benefited from such activities.

   Beside the rallies in the two cities, South Korean expatriates in the United States, Britain and Canada said they too will hold protests in the coming days to make their point known.

   The latest string of rallies comes after South Korean students in France protested at Place du Trocadero in Paris while President Park was on a state visit there. (Yonhap News)

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