Tens of thousands of South Koreans poured into the streets of downtown Seoul on Saturday, using words including "treason" and "criminal" to demand that President Park Geun-hye step down amid an explosive political scandal, the AP reports. The protest came a day after Park apologized on live television amid rising suspicion that she allowed a mysterious confidante to manipulate power from the shadows. Holding banners, candles, and colorful signs that read "Park Geun-hye out" and "Treason by a secret government," a sea of demonstrators filled a large square in front of an old palace gate and the nearby streets, singing and thunderously applauding speeches calling for the ouster of the increasingly unpopular president.
Demonstrators then shifted into a slow march in streets around City Hall, shouting "Arrest Park Geun-hye," ''Step down, criminal," and "We can't take this any longer," before moving back to the square and cheering on more speeches that continued into the night. Earlier in the week, prosecutors arrested Choi Soon-sil, the daughter of a late cult leader and a longtime friend of Park, and detained two former presidential aides over allegations that they pressured businesses into giving $70 million to two foundations Choi controlled. There are also allegations that Choi, despite having no government job, regularly received classified information and meddled in various state affairs, including the appointment of ministers and policy decisions.