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candlelight revolution

South Korea: How candlelight protests impeached a president and created spaces for direct democracy

 

 

By Jeong-eun Hwang

 

April 28, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– At 9 am on March 10, people gathered in front of the Constitutional Court to await the court’s ruling on whether to impeach South Korean president Park Geun-hye. Two hours before the verdict was read, those gathered chanted: “The Constitutional Court should uphold Park’s impeachment!”

 

At the designated time of 11am, the crowd held its breath as the eight judges appeared on the large screen set up in front of the court. As acting chief Lee Jung-mi calmly read the verdict, the crowd broke out at times in cheers and at others times in groans. After 20 minutes, Lee concluded the verdict by stating that the president would be removed from office. The crowd erupted with shouts, clapping and crying.

 

Those that had come out onto the streets in protest had finally “impeached Park.” For the past four months we had gathered at the square to realize our demands and acted on them, creating a space for direct democracy. In winter, we planted the seeds to make fundamental changes in Korean society shouting slogans, from the impeachment of Park to the eradication of deep-rooted problems like corrupt conservative forces and the chaebols that had been reigning over our laws. As spring comes, we await the seeds to sprout, nourished by the radiance of people power.

 

Corea del Sur: Victoria del movimiento de las velas, destitución de la presidenta Park y convocatoria de elecciones

 
 

Por Youngsu Won

 

Marzo 22, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso— El 10 de marzo, a las 11:22 de la mañana, el juez del Tribunal Constitucional Lee Jeingmi leyó la última frase de la sentencia, que declara que el tribunal había decidido por unanimidad, destituir a la Presidenta Park Geun-hye. Después de un juicio de 92 días, la presidencia de Park Geun-hye había terminado.

 

South Korea: With Park Geun-hye’s impeachment confirmed, the 2016-17 candlelight protest movement has won an important victory

 
 

By Youngsu Won

 

March 12, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On March 10, at 11:22 am, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Lee Jeingmi read the final sentence of the verdict, declaring that the court had unanimously decided to dismiss President Park Geun-hye. With that, following a 92-day trial, Park Geun-hye’s presidency was over.

 

Pro-impeachment protesters present at that time in front of the courthouse applauded the verdict, filled with a huge sense of joy and the feeling of a moment of emancipation. On the other side, desperate anti-impeachment protesters were deeply disappointed, resorting to verbal and physical assaults, causing the tragic and unnecessary deaths of some poor old people.

 

It was a historic moment, signifying a gigantic political victory for the millions of people who participated in the grassroots candlelight protests – South Korea’s indignados – and for those who led the 134 days of consecutive mobilisations that all together brought more than 15 million people onto the streets. Park now joins the list of presidents ousted in disgrace; her collapse has sent nostalgia for her father’s time in power (Park Chung-hee 1961-79) to the dustbin of history.

 

South Korea's candlelight revolution



 

By International Strategy Center

February 8, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Strategy Center with permission — Sitting in Gwanghwamun square on December 31, the screen rapidly dialled up to 10,000,000 as it added up the number of participants in the past ten candlelight protests. Every Saturday evening for the last two months of 2016, people had come out in the streets calling for impeachment. A few weeks prior, an impeachment motion had been passed in the National Assembly by an overwhelming vote. We were saying goodbye to the year with a candlelight protest on New Year’s Eve complete with Christmas jingles about impeachment.

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