On Oct. 7, pro-Park protests continued to rage all across Gangnam as well as the Dongdaemun District with about 2,000 people participating, according to MK News. Since the onset of protests against former President Park Geun-Hye in 2016, thousands of people rallied against the raging candles of anti-Park protests under the Korean flag. Known as the National Korean Flag Protests, the pro-Park rallies still continue in their support for the former-president’s acquittal.
“I think a lot of elders picked President Park Geun-hye because they were nostalgic to the era of Park Jung Hee’s presidency,” said Yena Lee (12), the Government and Politics student. “Though it was a dictatorship, he did bring drastic economic development to South Korea in the time where we struggled from the aftermaths of the Korean War. Moreover, with the New Community Movement, he charismatically raised the spirits of the citizens to cooperatively industrialize the nation. Those who missed his charismatic was of getting things done were probably influenced to vote for President Park Geun-hye.”
As the daughter of former President Park Jung-hee, former President Park Geun-hye gained large support from late President Park Jung-hee’s supporters. President Park Jung-hee, the president of Korea from 1963 to 1979, was loved by a number of people for his role in developing the Korean economy. According to News Freezone, even after 40 years of his assassination, the former-president Park is still idolized as a grand figure to a large majority of the public.
“The economic miracle during her father’s administration, which was not completely his doing, is a good memory for a lot of older Koreans,” said Morgan Miller, AP Economics teacher. “I think it leaves a certain segment of the population to revere her family’s name.”
Along with support for former-President Park, a large percentage of pro-Park protesters are against President Moon’s agendas. According to Joongang Daily, last protest on Sept. 23, some protesters cried out for President Moon to step down from his position and also criticized his lack of actions against North Korean threats as well as his emphasis on the “Candle Revolution” as a democratic victory, mentioning that his repeated reference is sign of weakness in his legitimacy.
“I feel like a lot of people are concerned over the response that President Moon gave over North Korea,” said Ashley Kim (10). “The pro-Park protesters are simply using the common sentiment in order to gain more support and thereby discredit the current president. It just gives another reason to claim that former-President Park’s term was better with relatively less tensions with North Korea compared to the present situation.”
Furthermore to opposing President Moon, the protesters argued that the prosecution of President Park Geun-hye is one without evidence. Many claimed that the issue is not just a human rights issue but also one of political incarceration, arguing that President Park was a political martyr.
“It is hard to see her as a political victim,” said Mr. Miller. “Maybe you could see her as a symbol of unfair treatment of women because a lot of men did gain from her abdication. Though it is a little too far of a stretch to claim her as a martyr.”