Deadly protests erupt after president of South Korea impeached

South Korea's Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye in a unanimous ruling Friday over a corruption scandal that has plunged the country into political turmoil and worsened an already-serious national divide.

2 people die after attending rallies that followed court upholding Park Geun-hye's impeachment

South Korea's Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye in a unanimous ruling Friday over a corruption scandal that has plunged the country into political turmoil and worsened an already-serious national divide. In the photo below, a Park supporter is pepper sprayed during clashes with police.

(Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty)

Millions of protesters fill the streets.

The decision capped a stunning fall for the country's first female leader, who rode a wave of lingering conservative nostalgia for her late dictator father to victory in 2012, only to see her presidency crumble as millions of furious protesters filled the nation's streets.

(Ahn Young-joon/AP)

Vast majority of South Koreans back president's impeachment.

Surveys before the latest ruling showed that 70 to 80 per cent of South Koreans wanted the court to approve Park's impeachment. In the photos below, a protestor celebrates following the court's decision with champagne and demonstrators wear illuminated costumes at an anti-Park rally.

(Kim Hong-ji/Reuters)
(Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty)

Supporters and protestors watched verdict live.

Sensing history, thousands of people — Park supporters, many of them dressed in army-style fatigues and wearing red berets, and those who wanted Park gone — gathered around the Constitutional Court building and a huge public square in downtown Seoul to watch the verdict live on a big television screen. Below is a rally of Park supporters.

(Ahn Young-joon/AP)
(Saša Petricic/CBC News)

Park's supporters reacted in anger.

Some of Park's supporters — many of them elderly — reacted angrily after the ruling, shouting and hitting police officers and reporters with plastic flag poles and steel ladders, and climbing on police buses. Anti-Park protesters celebrated by marching in the streets near the presidential Blue House, carrying flags, signs and an effigy of Park dressed in prison clothes and tied up with rope. The anti-Park protester in the second photo below holds a signs referencing the eight-member court's unanimous ruling.

(Kyodo via Reuters)
(Kim Hong-ji/Reuters)

Prime minister calls for peace as protests turn fatal.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said two people died while protesting Park's removal. Police said one 72-year-old man was taken to hospital with a head injury and died.

An official from the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul said another man brought from the pro-Park rally died shortly after receiving CPR at the hospital. The hospital official couldn't immediately confirm the cause of death.

Police and hospital officials said about 30 protesters and police officers were injured in the violent clashes near the court — including pro-Park demonstrators pictured below — which prompted Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, the country's acting head of state, to plead for peace and urge Park's angry supporters to move on.

(Kim Do-hun/Yonhap via AP)
(Kim Hong-ji/Reuters)