Roh's Suicide: Koreans Mourn, Predict Change
South Koreans continued mourning former President Roh on Sunday (May 24) in Seoul and other cities, as well as at his hometown Pongha, where his coffin has been placed at an altar site.
Global leaders sent condolences and South Korea's government on Sunday planned for the funeral of former President Roh who apparently jumped to his death after being hounded for weeks in a widening corruption scandal.
Politicians, religious people, ordinary citizens and village people gathered at Pongha, Roh's hometown, where his coffin has been placed at an altar site.
Many mourners were in tears when Roh's son and daughter paid homage to their father at the altar site.
Seoul's Yonhap News agency reported that many altars have been surrounded by riot police in case memorial gatherings by angry Roh supporters turn into anti-government rallies.
Local media said presidential aides met to discuss funeral arrangements for Roh, a self-taught lawyer who rose from rural poverty and won the presidency backed by a generation of students who hit the streets to fight for democracy in the 1980s.
A political scientist in the capital said Roh's death was an epoch-making case and a turning point in Korean politics.
[Prof. Moon Chung-in, Yonsei University]:
"Some people regard Roh's suicide as a political killing by those who have vested interests or a kind of martyrdom of South Korea's democratic forces. This is a very tragic and epoch-making political case."
Some supporters of the conservative Lee Myung-bak government have disgraced the two presidential terms ruled by Roh Moo-hyun and Roh's predecessor Kim Dae-jung as 10 years of stunted progress in Korean
Supporter of Roh, Kim and opposition parties have been angry at the conservative and anti-North Korean attitude held by the Lee administration.
[Prof. Moon CHung-in, Yonsei University]:
"It will be a huge political burden to the Lee administration. And it will brake the prosecutors' omnipotent power, which they have been abusing. It will also provide a turning point to the democratic movement, including the opposition Democratic Party, which hasn't been unified."
The government is planning the funeral for Roh who apparently jumped to his death after being hounded for weeks in a widening corruption scandal.