SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — In each of the past five Saturday evenings, thousands of protesters have transformed a darkened avenue near the South Korean presidential palace into a sea of light, waving candles, glowing smartphones and battery-powered LED sticks, singing and shouting for President Park Geun-hye to step down.
Candlelight vigils have become the main form of mass, peaceful demonstrations in South Korea since the early 2000s, reshaping a national protest culture once known for its ferocity.
Thousands participated in candlelight vigils in 2002 protesting the death of two schoolgirls struck by a U.S. military vehicle, and in 2008 over Seoul's decision to resume U.S. beef imports amid persisting fears of mad cow disease. The crowds calling for Park's removal have been much larger.
In these photos by Ahn Young-joon and Lee Jin-man, South Korean protesters demand the ouster of Park, who is suspected of assisting criminal activities of a secretive confidante who allegedly manipulated power from the shadows and extorted companies to amass an illicit fortune.