South Koreans call for President Park Geun-hye's impeachment amid corruption scandal
The last time protests hit this level of intensity in South Korea was in the 1980s when citizens rallied for the democratization of the country.
For many protesters, this scandal is only a symptom of much bigger problems in South Korea, according to political science professor Kathy Moon.
She tells The Current's guest host Kelly Crowe she's not surprised by both the scale and vigor of the demonstrations.
"South Koreans are used to going out and expressing their political opinions on the street. This time it's much more personal in some ways for a lot of these people," Moon says.
"It's political of course but I think they feel genuinely hurt by their president … betrayed by her promise during her campaign to stay clean."
President Park Geun-hye's legacy
According to Jason Struthers, a journalist based in Seoul, Park was not very popular even before this scandal came to light. Many were unhappy with the way she handled the 2014 sinking of the Sewol ferry in which over 300 mostly secondary school-aged children drowned and brought up issues of corruption.
"President Park more or less vanished during the first several hours while that incident unfolded," he says.
Park was not a popular president, says Moon. She won the presidency by a slim margin — "a 50/50 spilt."
"And she came into the presidency with a corruption scandal following her, that the National Intelligence Service, the Korea CIA ... manipulated or intervened in the election process to allow her to win."
Moon predicts the new president will be tied down by legal and political controversies but says regardless of the impeachment or resignation process, South Koreans need to define their future expectations.
"They really need to think about what kind of a national mandate they want to give and demand from the next president."
Listen to the full segment at the top of this web post.
This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese, Shannon Higgins and Karin Marley.