South Korea: President Park Geun-hye leaves Blue House following corruption scandal

Image Protesters shout slogans during a rally calling for impeachment of President Park Geun-hye

Moon, a liberal, has called for South Korea's strict national security laws to be repealed.

Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye expressed defiance toward the corruption allegations against her as she vacated the presidential palace and returned to her home on Sunday, two days after the Constitutional Court removed her from office.

Despite attempts like this to undermine the impact of these protests and the impeachment of Park, people continued to fight for what they wanted from their government, and it is fair to say they were successful.

Acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi's reading of the ruling from the Constitutional Court in Seoul Friday was broadcast live by national media outlets.

Housewife Lee Dong-sun, 36, who joined numerous protests against Park, had brought her two young sons to the square.

The court also criticized Park for being uncooperative and evasive in the investigations.

She was not planning any statement on Friday, the Blue House said.

Despite rights abuses, her father oversaw the country's rapid economic development during his 1961-1979 rule, with the first family treated as royalty by some supporters and Park dubbed the young "princess" - a nickname that endured for decades.

The court said Park worked with a close friend to pressure large Korean companies to donate almost $70 million to two organizations.

Before Sunday, she had apologized for putting trust in her jailed friend, Choi Soon-sil, but strongly denied any legal wrongdoing.

"These violations undermine the rule law and a representative democracy", Lee said. "Her actions betrayed the people's confidence".

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com. Police and hospital officials said three people died while protesting Park's removal, including a man in his 70s who died early Saturday after collapsing near the court.

Thousands of Park's opponents celebrated in Seoul on Saturday, where they have been gathering every weekend for months, and demanded that she be arrested.

Dozens of protesters and police officers were also wounded in the scuffles.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn was appointed acting president and will remain in that post until the election.

The two former liberal presidents both held summits with the North's then-leader, Kim Jong-il - the only such meetings ever - promising reconciliation and initiating joint projects, including the Kaesong Industrial Complex and tours to Mount Kumgang in the North.

A conciliatory line might face opposition from main ally, the United States, where aides of the president, Donald Trump, are pressing to complete a strategy review on how to counter North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.

The court's decision capped a stunning fall for the country's first female leader.

President Park is accused of letting a personal friend meddle in state affairs, triggering her approval rating to plummet to an all-time low of just 5 per cent.

The ruling allows possible criminal proceedings against the 65-year-old Park - prosecutors have already named her a criminal suspect - and makes her South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be removed from office since democracy replaced dictatorship in the late 1980s.

South Korean television showed Park leaving the Blue House in a motorcade of fast-driving black cars, flanked by police motorbikes, after bidding farewell to staff, an official said.

She helped her father for five years after her mother, who was well-liked in South Korea, was shot to death by a North Korean agent.

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