South Korean protesters use Santa outfits to call for Park's ouster

By Eric DuVall   |   Dec. 24, 2016 at 2:03 PM

SEOUL, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of South Koreans, many dressed as Santa Claus, staged another protest against President Park Geun-hye, seeking her ouster amid a corruption scandal.

In the ninth consecutive weekend of protests against Park, organizers said an estimated 250,000 people marched and held a candlelight vigil to seek the embattled president's resignation.

South Korea's legislature has impeached Park, but the nation's constitutional court must also agree before she can be removed from office. The court has up to 180 days to act but Park's opponents have urged justices to move swiftly. While awaiting the court's verdict, Park has been stripped of all governing power. Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn is the nation's acting president while the impeachment process continues.

Park is immune from prosecution for as long as she remains in office.

Park, South Korea's first female president, is accused of allowing a friend, Choi Soon-sil, with no official powers to influence national affairs and solicit millions in illegal donations to private foundations she created. Choi was also said to hold sway over Park personally because she said she was able to allow the president to communicate with her dead mother.

Protesters have staged mass gatherings in Seoul and across the country for more than two months since the scandal broke. On Saturday, protesters changed words to traditional South Korean Christmas songs to mock Park, while thousands of those in attendance dressed in Santa Claus costumes.

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