Students call for president to resign over Choi scandal

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Students call for president to resign over Choi scandal

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Students at Duksung Women’s University in Seoul demand on Monday the resignation of President Park Geun-hye over allegations that she allowed her friend, Choi Soon-sil, to meddle in state affairs. Students hold up signs that read, “Resign Park Geun-hye,” and “Save democracy.” [NEWSIS]

University students and professors, as well as labor groups countrywide, are continuing to issue declarations demanding the resignation of President Park Geun-hye over her friend’s undue influence over state affairs.

The latest declarations by universities are centered on Daegu - Park’s hometown - and North Gyeongsang region.

“Choi Soon-sil and those involved in the national scandal must be punished severely,” roughly 500 students and professors of Kyungpook National University in Daegu announced in their statement on Monday. “President Park has lost the people’s trust and must step down.”

The national scandal centers on Choi Soon-sil, the friend of the president, who is suspected of secretly controlling state affairs as well as embezzling billions of won from two nonprofit foundations. Her alleged interference in state affairs made the news when Ko Young-tae, a close associate of Choi, claimed earlier this month in an interview with the JTBC that Choi had reviewed and edited Park’s speeches.

“The Park administration and the Cabinet must resign altogether,” said the student council of Dongguk University’s Gyeongju campus in North Gyeongsang. “A special prosecution investigation into the scandal must be thoroughly carried out and Park must submit to it.”

“The people of Korea want President Park to resign,” said students of Yeongnam University in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang. “Her resignation is a requisite for a thorough fact-finding investigation.”

Students of Gyeongsang National University in Jinju, South Gyeongsang, and the student council of Gyeongin National University of Education’s Incheon campus also called for the president’s resignation on Monday.

In Gangwon, some 100 civic groups, including the Gangwon branch office of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, joined the movement.

“President Park and Choi’s monopoly over state affairs is a clear violation of the Constitution, which names Korea as a democratic republic whose sovereignty resides in the people,” some 100 members of civic groups based in Gangwon announced in their statement in front of the Gangwon Provincial Office on Monday. “Park must resign from her post immediately.”

The civic groups of Gangwon are planning to hold a mass rally on Nov. 5 and 12. Professors are also joining in.

“We cannot hide our shame and humiliation over the national scandal,” said some 300 professors of Pusan National University in Busan in their official statement. “Park handed over state power to Choi, a person of personal relation to Park, and thus violated the Constitution.”

Professors of the Gwangju and South Jeolla regions on Thursday and Friday also issued statements demanding Park’s resignation. On Monday, professors of Kwangwoon University in Seoul also issued a statement.

“The current leadership of Korea lost its justice and legality,” said 64 professors of Kwangwoon University in their statement on Monday. “President Park must explain herself thoroughly to the people and ask for forgiveness, regardless of how the special prosecution investigation on her turns out.”

A special prosecution investigation into the scandal is being led by Kim Soo-nam, chief of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office.

Universities in Seoul have been demanding the president’s resignation since Wednesday.

Students of Ewha Womans University and Sogang University in Seoul issued declarations on Wednesday demanding thorough investigations into Park and others involved in the allegations, followed by students of Sungkyunkwan University, Sookmyung Women’s University, Chung-Ang University, Hanyang University and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, who joined in on Thursday. By Friday, Seoul National University and Yonsei University students also issued declarations.

On Saturday evening, tens of thousands of people filled downtown Seoul demanding Park’s resignation.

BY KIM YOUN-HO, PARK JIN-HO AND ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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