Some 4,000 people gathered in front of Seoul Station to voice support for President Park Geun-hye and oppose the rallies calling on her to step down over the scandal surrounding her confidante Choi Soon-sil.
The participants were mostly senior citizens from some 80 hard right groups, including the Korea Parent Federation, Mothers’ Platoon and the Preparation Committee for the Centennial Anniversary of the Birth of Park Chung-hee. PArk Chung-hee was a military strongman and the father of the current president.
It was the first large-scale gathering of Park loyalists since the scandal erupted last month. The president’s approval rating has fallen to a record low of 5 percent, according to successive Gallup polls.
People participating in a pro-Park rally hold signs and national flag in front of Seoul Station in central Seoul Saturday. (Ock Hyun-ju/The Korea Herald)
Much larger crowds have attended anti-Park rallies that flared up across the country Saturday. In Seoul’s Gwanghwamun area, some 350,000 gathered in the evening to demand Park's resignation.
Here are some quotes from the people who rallied in support of the embattled president:
A woman in her 60s, surnamed Kim said that Park should keep her position despite her failings.
"Park Geun-hye did not do very well (as a president), but we cannot hand over the country to Kim Jong-un either. I cannot stand to watch grown ups stirring up young students for a wrongful cause.”
Others also said they still supported the president.
“I came out today because I like Park Geun-hye,” said Lee Jun-son, 67. “The current state of affairs is chaos. This is a time when we need to seek stability. The things concerning Choi Soon-sil cannot be true. I refuse to believe it. What I fear the most is a leftist regime that will sell off this country to North Korea.”
People participating in a pro-Park rally hold signs reading "I love Park Geun-hye" in front of Seoul Station in central Seoul Saturday. (Ock Hyun-ju/The Korea Herald)
Shim Jae-gu, 67, said that although he thought badly of the scandal involving Choi, he thought Park’s intentions were proper.
“Park must have meant well. What happened with Choi Soon-sil was wrong, but she must have done what she did for our good,” he said.
“I hate to see people trying to bring her down from the presidency near the end of her term. Who is going to fill the vacancy? We paid the tax that was needed to bring this country to where it stands now. It’s regretful the young kids are holding these candlelight vigils.”
By Korea Herald special report team