By James Pearson and Ju-min Park
SEOUL (Reuters) – Many South Koreans ate chicken on Friday to celebrate the removal of President Park Geun-hye in a satirical nod to a derogatory nickname for the former leader.
South Korea’s Constitutional Court forced Park from office over an influence-peddling involving one of her close friends and the country’s powerful “chaebol” conglomerates.
Even before the scandal, Park’s opponents called her “Chicken Geun-hye”, both a play on words – her family name rhymes with chicken in Korean – and a reference to what they see as her lack of intellect and stilted public speaking.
“Chicken head” is an insult in Korea meaning an idiot.
A restaurant in the rural city of Jeonju said it would offer chicken burgers at half price on Friday and Saturday to celebrate the court ruling.
“We prepared twice as many chicken burgers as usual and, wow, they’ve almost all gone,” Yu Yeung-sang, owner of Eddis Kitchen, told Reuters by telephone.
In Seoul, a photograph of Friday’s menu at the national assembly cafeteria caused a stir on social media, with a noodle dish typically eaten at celebrations for lunch and chicken for dinner.
“Party noodles” was trending on Korean Twitter for much of the day and, after the verdict, some users uploaded photos of fried chicken.
South Korea’s biggest portals Naver and Daum posted recommendations for chicken restaurants.
In 2014, officials in the town of Gwangju removed a painting from an exhibition by an artist who had painted a caricature of Park as a puppet. The artist, Hong Sung-dam, responded by replacing the caricature of Park with a cartoon chicken.
Park becomes South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office, capping months of paralysis and turmoil over a corruption scandal that also landed the head of the Samsung conglomerate in court on trial. Park denies any wrongdoing.
A snap presidential election will be held within 60 days.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)