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Parties divided over meaning of March 1

March 1, 2017 - 17:44 By Jo He-rim
Political parties across the aisle Wednesday celebrated the nation’s 98th Independent Movement Day, recognizing its significance from different perspectives.

The conservative camp described the occasion as a call for unity among the citizens of a nation that has been divided over the president’s impeachment. On the other hand, the opposition appealed to those in the public who have been calling for the past months to oust the state leader and establish a new power.

The conservative bloc, which includes the ruling Liberty Korea Party, formerly the Saenuri Party, and its splinter Bareun Party, focused on unifying public opinion.

“South Korea is currently impotent in the face of a national crisis,” the conservative ruling party’s spokesperson Rep. Kim Sung-won said in a statement. “The nation is divided into those for and those against the impeachment, with each showing strong hostility against the other.”

Lawmakers from both conservative and liberal parties wave Korean flag in a ceremony celebrating the nation's Independence Movement Day at Sejong Center in Gwanghwamun, in central Seoul on Wednesday.(Yonhap)

The conservative Bareun Party also vowed to integrate national sentiment.

“We should be ashamed of the ongoing division as we remember our patriotic martyrs (sacrificed for the nation’s independence),” the party’s spokesperson Lee Ki-jae said.

On the other hand, the liberal opposition parties reiterated their stance to push for the ouster of Park and to restructure the nation. They also strongly criticized opponents of the impeachment who use the Taegeukgi, or Korean flag, as their symbol.

“The protesters against the impeachment are even using the Taegeukgi to carry out biased performances in front of the Constitutional Court. It violates the nobility of the national flag,” spokesperson Park Kyung-mi of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea said.

The party said they will continue to support the impeachment of Park and the citizens who hold candles in street protests. A leading presidential candidate of the party, Moon Jae-in, is also expected to participate in Wednesday’s rally for the impeachment in Gwanghwamun Square, central Seoul.

“It has been almost a hundred years and citizens are still calling for a democratic republic through candlelight vigils on the streets,” said Moon. “I will make efforts to clean up the old evils in society and reform the nation through a regime change.”

By Jo He-rim (