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Anti-Beef Protesters Hold 48-Hr Candlelight Vigils

Posted June. 23, 2008 05:56,   


Despite the government’s announcement on the additional negotiations for U.S. beef imports, the People’s Association for Measures Against Mad Cow Disease proceeded with its “48-hour protests” Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, police said an estimated 10,000 protesters held candlelight vigils at Seoul Plaza in front of the Seoul City Hall. They chanted slogans such as “The additional negotiations are a deception,” “We want renegotiation,” and “Down, down with (President) Lee Myung-bak.”

Clashes with police broke out after the protesters moved toward the presidential office. Some protesters dragged out police buses that were blocking the streets with ropes and jumped on the buses.

As the crowds grew more aggressive, police sprayed water cannons around 1 a.m. Sunday and dispersed 500 protesters who blocked the intersection.

Twelve protesters were arrested, including a man who tried to set fire to a police bus. One woman who suffered an eye injury was released and the remaining 11 stayed in custody. Police had also arrested five more protesters early Sunday morning.

Police said four officers were injured in the protests and seven police buses were damaged. The people’s association, however, that police injured 20 protestors.

The civic group held a candlelight protest again with an estimated 2,000 protesters in Seoul Plaza at 7 p.m. Sunday. They were joined by members of the Korea Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions, which had held a demonstration in Seoul’s Maronier Park.

The People’s Movement for the Impeachment of Lee Myung-bak held an independent candlelight vigil in front of the headquarters of the ruling Grand National Party.

Two hundred members of Agora, an Internet-based discussion forum, held their own in Seoul’s Yeouido district to protest the government audit of the network Korea Broadcasting System.

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