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Protests rage as S. Korea's Park yet to vacate presidential residence

Protests rage as S. Korea's Park yet to vacate presidential residence

Meanwhile, an election to choose Park's successor must be held within 60 days and onlookers expect it to fall on May 9.

Her lawyer, Seo Seok-Gu, who had previously compared Ms Park's impeachment to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, condemned the verdict as a "tragic decision" made under popular pressure.

The Constitutional Court's ruling on Friday sparked violent protests from Park's supporters, two of whom later succumbed to their wounds following clashes with police outside the building in downtown Seoul, according to authorities.

Hundreds of thousands of people have for months been gathering at peaceful rallies in Seoul every weekend to call for her to step down.

The U.S. State Department said it would continue to work with the acting president and whoever becomes the next president. She is stripped of powers while awaiting a court decision on the vote.

"The president was apparently stunned at the ruling".

The stunning and sudden collapse of Park's presidency was caused by allegations that a multi-million dollar influence-peddling scandal was being run out of the Blue House. Two people believed to be pro-Park died.

Police said more than 200 officers were deployed around the area.

Park has been holed up in the Blue House with her power suspended since she was impeached, leaving the complex only once, to pay tribute at her parents' graves.

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Two protesters died during demonstrations that broke out in the capital, Seoul, after the unanimous judgment was handed down in a live broadcast that gripped the nation.

But Park denied everything.

Acting chief justice Lee Jung-Mi said Ms Park's "acts of violating the constitution and law are a betrayal of the public trust".

'The removal of the claimee from office is overwhelmingly to the benefit of the protection of the constitution.

Ms Choi is also in detention, after being accused of using her close ties with Ms Park to force firms to "donate" nearly $70m to her non-profit organisations, which she allegedly used for personal gain.

It is not clear when prosecutors will try to interview her.

North Korean state media denounced Park as a criminal. What's most worrying is that she could be destroying evidence in case of arrest and criminal investigation.

"The US-ROK alliance will continue to be a linchpin of regional stability and security, and we will continue to meet all our alliance commitments, especially with respect to defending against the threat from North Korea", the statement said, using an acronym for South Korea. "I plead with the court to make a wise decision", she said.

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