Even before I got here a week ago, I knew that a Free Trade Agreement was being negotiated between
Lee had won in a landslide over previous President Roh, and he was hailed in US media as much friendlier to
But the vigils have also become an irritant, and police have begun to push the protesters, who’ve pushed back. Yesterday the conservative English-language Korea Herald ran a stern editorial, accusing the protestors of breaking the law, inconveniencing the country, and picking on the police. A Korean friend told me that President Roh restrained the police in their dealings with protesters, but Lee will let them crack down. This is worrisome. Not only old Korean hardliners but US commercial interests and government have long wanted the Korean government to ‘do something’ about what they call anti-Americanism. (As usual, this translates as any criticism of American policies and conduct.) The editors accused the protesters of starting fights with the police, and ordered Koreans to shut up and stay home.
Last night about 50,000 protesters gathered in front of
At about the police turned water cannons on the crowd, injuring about 65. (Welcome back to the 20th century.) This morning there are photos on OhMyNews showing police beating a demonstrator, but they were taken in daylight. My Korean isn't up to sorting out exactly when they were taken.
My own guess is that Mad Cow Disease, while a valid concern, is partly a symbolic tag for much larger ones. As in many countries, small farmers have suffered in
These events are part of the same global struggle that put Chavez, Morales, and Da Silva into office in