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Citizens Pay Tribute to Dead FTA Protester Heo Se-wook

Posted April. 19, 2007 03:58,   


Many parts of downtown Seoul were packed with people on Wednesday as citizens gathered to pay tribute to Heo Se-wook. The 54-year-old taxi driver who set himself on fire in front of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Seoul protesting against the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) two weeks ago died last Sunday. On Thursday morning, some 400 attended a ceremony in front of Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital in Seoul where he was being treated for his injury. The gathering was arranged by a committee organized to conduct Heo’s funeral. The group is also against the KORUS FTA and regards Heo’s death as a “patriotic sacrifice.”

Immediately after Heo’s death, his body was transferred to his hometown Anseong, Gyeonggi Province at the request of his family, who rejected the idea of a public funeral. His ashes were placed in Yutaek Park crematorium in Seongnam. Some of his ashes were collected by the committee in order to conduct a memorial service. They were later buried at Moran Park cemetery in Maseok, Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, along with some of his belongings left behind. Nearby was the grave of Jeon Tae-il, the late labor activist who also burned himself to death more than 30 years ago.