One 'Million'strong protesters seize streets of capital
SEOUL: (APP) Pressure on South Korea's scandal-hit president to resign escalated sharply Saturday, with organisers claiming a million-strong turnout at one of the largest -- and loudest -- anti-government protests the country has ever witnessed.
Chanting "Step down Park Geun-Hye!" enormous crowds, including high school students, Catholic nuns, labourers, farmers, retirees and young couples with babies, massed in the streets of central Seoul in a powerful display of popular anger and dissent.
While police put the turnout at 260,000, organisers said one million people took part in what was the third in a series of weekly protests over a corruption scandal that has left Park fighting for her political survival.
On the back of official appeals for calm, police deployed around 25,000 officers, many of them in full riot gear, while police buses and trucks blocked every access road -- major or minor -- around the presidential Blue House.
As night fell, Seoul's main ceremonial boulevard Gwanghwamun became a moving river of flickering candles held by the banner-waving, slogan-chanting demonstrators calling on Park to quit.
"It was our wedding anniversary yesterday but we cancelled our anniversary trip and came to Seoul because we thought it was more important for our daughter," said Cho Joo-Pyo, who came with his wife and their two-year-old.
Cho's family had travelled from Jeonju, around 200 kilometres (120 miles) south of Seoul -- one of tens of thousands who travelled from cities across the country to participate in the biggest anti-government rally since the pro-democracy protests of the late 1980s.