- Title: SOUTH KOREA: Korean priests in anti-U.S. beef rally
- Date: 2nd July 2008
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) PRIEST KIM IN-GOOK SAYING: "The government was too embarrassed, and that's why it's trying to use forces against the people. The people got hurt and the government was driven to the corner. If we leave the situation as it is, it will be very hard for our society to have its way out." PRIESTS STARTING TO MARCH AND PROTESTERS FOLLOWING PRIEST HOLDING THE HOLY CROSS LEADING THE MARCH VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) PROTESTER AHN YOON-JUNG SAYING: "It looked very serious. I wanted to come out and hold a candle to add more power for the people rather than stay at home doing internet with keyboard." VARIOUS OF PRIESTS AND PROTESTERS MARCHING MAN MARCHING WHILE HOLDING UP PLACARD READING "Who are you protecting with the power given by the people?" PROTESTERS MARCHING
- Embargoed: 17th July 2008 13:00
- Topics: International Relations,Industry
- Reuters ID: LVAGET97IDQ9GYHQOC0U1YN5B0D
- Story Text: Thousands of South Korean protesters led by two-hundred priests rally against American beef imports.
A huge protest rally was held in Seoul on Tuesday (July 1) against a U.S. beef import deal.
Several thousand South Koreans, including 200 priests, gathered to condemn the Lee Myung-bak government following the arrests of more than 100 people at rallies last weekend.
Tensions are expected to rise this week when meat imports return to stores.
Priest Kim In-gook believes the government is now embarrassed, and that's why there was no use of force at Tuesday's rally.
One of the marchers Ahn Yoon-jungPark Sang-jin, said they wanted to hold a candle and add more "power to the people".
South Korea and U.S trade officials said about a week ago they had reworked a beef import deal first struck in April that sparked mass street protests, caused Lee's support rate to plummet and led to a crisis for his four-month-old government.
Last week, South Korea started processing the first batch of U.S. beef to enter the country under new quarantine rules designed to allay Korean fears of mad cow disease by limiting imports to beef from younger cattle and prohibiting risky parts.
U.S. beef, banned for about three years after an outbreak of mad cow disease in the country in late 2003, returned to South Korea last year but was later banned after prohibited material was found. Australian beef has now become the main meat import.
When U.S. beef returns to South Korea for the first time in about nine months, it is expected to sell for about half the cost of similar cuts of Korean beef, even before discounts.
Quarantine checks that started last week on some 5,300 tonnes of U.S.
beef frozen in storage in South Korea since October have been delayed by militant trade union members who blocked trucks leaving warehouses.
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