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Anti-FTA Rallies Go On Despite Ban

Posted December. 07, 2006 07:04,   


Despite a police ban, the Korean Alliance Against the Korea-U.S. FTA, a coalition of civic groups, staged a rally on Wednesday, illegally occupying car lanes in downtown Seoul.

The anti-globalization demonstrators that occupied car lanes near Marronnier Park in Daehangno held their third rally in the afternoon to protest the FTA with the U.S. Some 5,000 demonstrators, including farmers and members of the Democratic Labor Party, participated in the rally.

The protesters caused serious traffic congestion by occupying four out of six car lanes in front of the park for about two hours starting at 2:30 p.m.

Finishing the rally at around 4:30 p.m., the participants took subway trains or went on foot individually or in small groups. They later gathered at several different locations and marched on roads without police permission. At around 5:00 p.m., some 700 members of the Korean Advanced Farmers Federation occupied four car lanes at the Chungmuro subway station and headed toward Myeong-dong.

Also at around 5:00 p.m., some 1,500 members of the National Federation of the Poor of Korea occupied two car lanes at the Hoehyeon subway station and marched toward Toegyero. Meanwhile, some 3,000 members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions also proceeded from the Dongdaemun subway station toward Myeong-dong, occupying four car lanes.

At around 5:30 p.m., they all gathered in front of the Euljiro 3-ga subway station and advanced toward Myeongdong Cathedral to hold a candlelight vigil. Because the street procession took place during the evening rush hour without prior notice, it caused major traffic disruptions in downtown Seoul.

Prior to the rally of the Korean Alliance Against the Korea-U.S. FTA, members of the Democratic Labor Party also held a demonstration at the same location in protest of passing non-regular worker bills. Although the Democratic Labor Party reported it would hold a rally at Marronnier Park, they did not keep their word. During the rally, small banners saying, “Oppose the Korea-U.S. FTA” appeared along with large-sized flyers.

Police have decided to find those responsible for staging the rally illegally and occupying car lanes. The police said the nature and details of the protest were different from what they initially reported.