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(3rd LD) Two die as pro-Park protest turns violent

All Headlines 18:01 March 10, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with acting president's national address in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- Two people died Friday from injuries they presumably sustained during a violent street rally in central Seoul in protest of the Constitutional Court's decision to dismiss Park Geun-hye as president, police said.

A 72-year-old man, identified only by his last name Kim, was found bleeding from his head near the court at around 1 p.m.

Police said he was hit by a speaker that fell from atop a police bus. It is yet unclear why the speaker fell.

He was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead there at around 1:50 p.m., according to police.

The other man, also surnamed Kim, 66, was found unconscious at a subway station near the court at around 12:15 p.m., police said.

Police are investigating the details of the incidents.

There are two more people who are in critical condition, police said.

A police bus near the Constitutional Court in central Seoul is damaged on March 10, 2017, as Park Geun-hye supporters clash with police on their way to the court after it ruled to remove Park from her post as the country's president. (Yonhap)

The clash began immediately after the verdict was delivered.

Park's supporters tried to march toward the court after chief justice Lee Jung-mi read out the televised ruling. They shouted "Let's destroy the Constitutional Court!"

The protest became violent as some used makeshift weapons, such as wooden sticks, to fight against police. They swarmed to police buses that barred them from approaching the court.

Some journalists were physically assaulted in the process.

Police said seven of their officers were transferred to hospitals for minor injuries.

Police tightened security near the Constitutional Court and other government offices, including the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, for contingencies.

They have surrounded the court with police buses and mobilized some 21,600 officers to stand guard.

The rally organizer said their protest will continue overnight.

Protesters from conservative civic bodies scuffle with police at an intersection leading to the Constitutional Court in Seoul on March 10, 2017, after the court upheld the impeachment of the president. The ruling, which was announced by the court's acting chief and televised live, made Park the nation's first democratically elected leader to be ousted. (Yonhap)

Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn called on the nation to accept the ruling in a televised address.

"There are still those who cannot accept the ruling, but now is the time for us to accept it and end the conflict and confrontation we have suffered from," he said.

"During a protest today, we lost two precious lives, which is deeply sad," Hwang said. "There should never be such sacrifices any more, and there must not be any abrupt acts that threaten social order."

scaaet@yna.co.kr
(END)

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