06/11/2008, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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Seoul: 400 thousand people commemorate the ’87 repression, contesting the government

The crowd filled the streets of Seoul commemorating the repression of the student movement which led to the overturning of the military dictatorship in the nation. Fresh protests against the free trade agreement with the USA.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Over 400 thousand people took to the streets of the capital Seoul today to commemorate the anniversary of the repression of the students movement in 1987 which led to the fall of  Chun Doo Hwan’s military dictatorship in South Korea.

Marchers also protested against president Lee Myung-bak’s government, accused of having opened the gates to “mad cow” disease by signing a free trade agreement with Washington one month ago.

Police dispatched more than 20,000 troops to control the area and ensure the protests were peaceful. According to military sources today’s is the biggest popular protest since the end of the’80’s. Organizers believe numbers will exceed one million people by the end of the day.

During a candle light vigil, demonstrators held aloft torches and banners demanding that Lee’s government design.  Slogans chanted by the protesters included “Lee Myung-bak, Out” and “No mad cow to Korea”.

The mass demonstration was organised by 1,700 human rights groups from across the nation and is the 34th to take place against the free trade agreement.  The pact allows for beef imports from the United States, demonstrators believe that the meat may be infected with “mad cow” disease.  In fact the pact does not allow for health controls on imported products.

 

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