Hark! The anti-Park masses will sing Saturday

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Hark! The anti-Park masses will sing Saturday

Christmas Eve in downtown Seoul will be a political one as organizers of the Saturday anti-Park Geun-hye rallies announced they would hold yet another demonstration calling for the president to step down.

But there will be Christmas carols - albeit with rewritten lyrics that ridicule the president.

For the ninth straight week since Oct. 29, a coalition of various civic and labor groups will invite the public to an hours-long protest of singing, chanting, marching and fist-pumping as Park awaits a Constitutional Court verdict on her impeachment. The protestors want her to quit immediately.

Today’s protest, which is scheduled to run from 5 p.m. through the night, will be “festival-formatted,” according to the organizers, adding that Christmas carols and jazz music will be played during an evening concert. The talent roster includes rock singers Maya and Lee Han-chul.

The crowd will be encouraged to sing along, especially to the lyrics rewritten to ridicule Park and her closest aides, including controversial presidential friend Choi Soon-sil.

Protestors will march toward the Blue House, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Constitutional Court, keeping 100 meters (328 feet) away from each location as allowed by police. Police, however, said protests in front of the Blue House will only be allowed until 5:30 p.m., citing concerns about clashes with a separate group of Park supporters rallying in front of the Daehanmun gate of Deoksu Palace.

Park’s apologists have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demand the president to stay in office and the Constitutional Court strike down an impeachment motion passed earlier this month. Bickering between the two groups occurred sporadically in the past, but none escalated to physical fighting.

The anti-Park rally organizers made clear they would continue their gatherings every Saturday until Park actually leaves office, which means they could go on until next spring. The Constitutional Court, which by law has 180 days to decide whether to remove Park, warned last week that the trial won’t be as short as the public or opposition lawmakers hope it will be.

A 10th anti-Park rally will be held on the last day of 2016, and organizers are promising a New Year’s Eve bell-ringing performance.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, HAN YOUNG-IK [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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