[Around 650,000 people in Seoul celebrated Park's downfall the day after she was impeached (Pic: Workers Solidarity)]
Demonstrations have continued after President Park Geun-hye was removed from office on March 10th 2017.
The Constitutional Court ruled unanimously that Park should be ousted from her post because of “acts that violated the Constitution and laws”. She could now face charges of bribery, extortion and abuse of power.
People were greatly pleased by this achievement which they had accomplished with their own hands. Around 5,000 people were watching a live broadcast of the ruling on a large screen just outside the court.
As soon as they heard the decision, they marched towards the nearby Presidential Residence, shouting “Now it’s time to arrest Park!”
The rail workers, whose strike was crucial for the movement in its early phase, have staged demonstration action at the central rail station against the government’s decision to discipline them and sack because of militants. They were also watching the live news on the screen and they all burst into applause.
On the next day, Saturday, 650,000 people participated in the protest in Seoul, the capital city, which celebrated Park’s removal with fireworks. Similar actions took place in other cities.
In contrast the size of the demonstrations by Park's supporters shrunk significantly.
A presidential election will take place on May 9th. Most of the ruling class wanted to regain political stability by sacrificing Park.
Accordingly, the Constitutional Court in its sentencing accepted the least among the various charges against Park. It portrayed big businesses who had bribed Park, including Samsung and Hyundai, as victims of "coercion".
The court also ruled that Park’s failure to rescue lives in the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster was not a reason to impeach her.
The mainstream press now argue that conflict should stop and that the country needs "national unity".
But Park is insisting that she has done nothing wrong and says, “Time will reveal the real truth.” Most newspapers have commented that she is trying in an effort to rally her supporters.
More than four years ago, the ruling class was united in supporting Park. Now, the ruling class is divided about Park - although the faction supporting her now constitutes only a minority among them.
On the other hand, workers are excited about the prospect of changing the government in the upcoming election which is expected to take place in early May.
When Park was elected in 2012, many workers were frustrated and several activists even died by suicide.
The umbrella organisation that have been leading the movement, People’s Action, decided not to disperse until the election. It organised protests and continued to demand Park's arrest. As a result Park has finally put in jail.
Now people are demanding a thorough investigation into the case of sunken Sewol ferry and punishments for those involved. And they are calling for the cancellation of deploying for the THAAD missile defence system.
So it is important for us to build workers' struggle at workplaces and streets against the ruling class.
Economic and geopolitical crises continue in South Korea.
Whoever wins the election will eventually attack the working class, and a significant contradiction will emerge in the midst of imperialist rivalry between US and China which will again lead to public anger.