The Choi Soon-Sil scandal, perhaps the largest political scandal in Korea in its modern history, is sweeping the nation, causing uproars everywhere. Citizens are pouring into the streets to protest, demanding President Park Geun Hye's resignation and for all individuals involved to be punished.
The scandal began when it was exposed that President Park was allowing Choi Soon-Sil, a long-time confidant of President Park, to make decisions for her -- it included everything from the presidential outfits, editing speeches, decisions to shut down a business deal with North Korea, and newly alleged, where to hold the Winter Olympics. Choi Soon-Sil seems to have had unhindered access to top classified documents even though she held no official posts -- in fact, most people did not even know of her existence until very recently.
To make matters worse, friends and family of Choi reaped immeasurable benefits. Her daughter, Jung Yoo Ra, was able to enter a prestigious university through a horse-back riding scholarship even though she only attended high school for 28 days.
Allegations continue and there's new evidence being discovered daily. Korean citizens, outraged and feeling betrayed by the President, are demanding her resignation. President Park's approval rate is below 10% as of today.
October 30 marked the first official citizens' protest in the Gwang Hwa Moon area -- historically where important celebrations, events, and protests are held -- and at least 20,000 people came out.
People held candles, banners, and some even came out with their children and marched through the night. Some citizens had conflicts with the police, but the protest remained mostly peaceful.
Protests also took place on university campuses. Many declared a state of political emergency for the country. Professors and students organized declaration of demands for the president to step down, citing, "the death of democracy." All the major universities in Seoul participated, followed by many other schools all over the country.
Even high school students joined the movement, demanding, "Restore democracy!" They also earnestly asked for the prosecution office to thoroughly investigate all the evidence and hold an unbiased trial.
Choi Soon-Sil, the woman in the center of the scandal, is currently in the custody of the police while prosecutors are investigating. She denies all charges and only admits to helping President Park personally when she was in need.