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Published: Sun, March 12, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

South Korean Court Removes President Park Geun-hye On Corruption Charges

South Korean Court Removes President Park Geun-hye On Corruption Charges

Opponents of South Korea's ousted leader, Park Geun-hye, demanded on Saturday that she be arrested a day after she was thrown out of office over a corruption scandal involving the country's conglomerates.

There have been angry scenes outside the court.

Pictured, the police clash with protesters and spray them to keep the crowds at bay.

Two protesters died during demonstrations that broke out in the capital, Seoul, after the unanimous judgment was handed down in a live broadcast that gripped the nation.

A new election will be held in 60 days. The court's verdict is final and there is no scope for any appeal against the decision leaving Park with no choice but to immediately vacate Blue House. The acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, will remain in office until the election, which is expected May 9.

Park was accused of colluding with her friend, Choi and a former presidential aide, both of whom have been on trial, to pressure big businesses to donate to two foundations set up to back her policy initiatives. Choi allegedly assisted Park in extorting money from corporations, including tech giant Samsung.

Friday's ruling by an eight-member panel now opens her up to possible criminal proceedings.

Ms Park had "concealed completely Choi's meddling in state affairs and denied it whenever suspicions over the act emerged and even criticised those who raised the suspicions", it said.

But the judges dismissed some charges, including accusations Ms Park had infringed on freedom of the press by creating a media blacklist of cultural figures, and criticism of her response during the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster. This follows the December move when she was suspended in December by a legislative impeachment vote.

Millions demonstrated every weekend on the streets calling for her to step down. In the photos below, a protestor celebrates following the court's decision with champagne and demonstrators wear illuminated costumes at an anti-Park rally.

While some people stood right in front of the police barricade, one man in a red cap tried to pick a fight with two police officers.

Park is the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, who seized power in a 1961 military coup.

By far the biggest corporate head on the block in the scandal is Samsung chief and heir to its $316 billion empire, Jay Y. Lee.

"It is time to accept and close the conflict and confrontation we have suffered", Hwang said in a televised speech.

"The US-ROK alliance will continue to be a linchpin of regional stability and security, and we will continue to meet all our alliance commitments, especially with respect to defending against the threat from North Korea", the statement said, using an acronym for South Korea.

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