World Bulletin / News Desk
South Korea's protest movement against President Park Geun-hye gathered pace Saturday, with organizers expecting up to a million demonstrators to join a rally in central Seoul between the afternoon and evening.
Opposition party lawmakers were also behind the demonstration, which threatened to eclipse the protests of recent weekends and even a rally of 2008 when around 700,000 people took a stand against American beef imports.
Park's Gallup Korea approval rating remained down at a record-low five percent going into the weekend -- after weeks of snowballing claims of corruption and power abuse involving aides and potentially the president herself.
So far Park has apologized twice for seeking help with writing speeches from an unofficial confidante who is also at the center of the wider scandal.
Prosecutors are yet to decide whether to take up the president's offer to cooperate with an unprecedented investigation directly into her affairs.
As the country's parliament continues to stand in the way of Park's proposed administration reshuffle, pressure is mounting on the leader more than a year before she is scheduled to hand over power to a successor.
Amid the planned deployment of 25,000 police officers, Deputy Prime Minister Lee Joon-sik admitted Friday that the situation could become tense.
"The government is concerned that the rally might turn into a massive violent incident," Lee said in the statement. "We are well aware that our people are disappointed about the latest scandal, and that they are worried about the operation of state affairs."
Chaotic scenes during an anti-government protest in the capital last November led to the death of a participant who fell into a coma after being hit by a police-fired water cannon.