Thousands of people gathered in central Seoul on Saturday to protest a lower court ruling that found former South Chungcheong Province Gov. An Hee-jung not guilty of sexually abusing his former secretary.
On Tuesday, the Seoul Western District Court cleared the 54-year-old politician on charges of forcing his former secretary, Kim Ji-eun, to have sex with him four times and molesting her multiple times between the middle of last year and early this year in Seoul and while on overseas business trips.
The members of some 350 female activist and labor groups flocked to voice concerns that the controversial ruling could dampen the #MeToo movement in South Korea.
Rally organizers claimed around 20,000 people joined the protest in Seoul. Police, on the other hand, did not release the exact number but forecast that more than an initial estimate of between 1,000 and 2,000 participants were present.
"The not-guilty verdict on former Gov. An frustrated so many citizens who have wished for a fair society in terms of gender equality," the civic groups said.
The participants held signs with slogans such as "An is guilty" and "The court is guilty as well."
An was charged with sexual violence, including sexual intercourse, and harassment by abuse of occupational authority. The charges carried a possible jail term of up to five years or a 15 million-won (US$13,000) fine. (Yonhap)