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Protests continue in Seoul against free trade deal with U.S.

(Xinhua)

08:32, November 04, 2011

SEOUL, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of protesters gathered in Seoul's financial district of Yeouido on Thursday to oppose the ratification of the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) by the National Assembly.

About 2,300 people rallied near the National Assembly and called for the free trade deal to be abolished.

The demonstrators carried placard that denounced the trade agreement, and chanted slogans against the Lee Myung-bak administration and the ruling Grand National Party that demand the swift ratification of the FTA.

"The FTA has many unfair aspects," said Lee Kwang-suk, president of the Korean Peasants League.

One female protester who has a four-year-old boy said she came out to join the protest because she believes that the FTA would put her child's future in jeopardy.

"I learned from the Internet about this demonstration and came here because I'm worried there will be disadvantages for my child if the National Assembly approved the FTA," said 32-year-old Lee Mi-kyung.

The peaceful protest turned violent as the demonstrators began to march to the National Assembly where rival parties were at odds over the trade deal.

Clashes broke out as riot police tried to block the way of the protesters. Police used water cannon to prevent the demonstrators from entering the National Assembly.

Dozens of protesters were taken by police after scuffles.

South Korean parliament remained deadlocked over the FTA amid strong objections from opposition lawmakers. The pending bill now awaits a vote at the National Assembly's foreign affairs and trade committee before being submitted to a plenary session for approval.

 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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