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1 million people vs US beef

1 million people vs US beef

On 10 June 2008, Korean social movements resisting the re-opening of their country’s borders to US beef under a bilateral deal signed by the two governments are holding a watershed rally where they aim to get one million people in the streets. At the core of this uprising, people are demanding the cancellation and total renegotiation of the 18 April US-Korea beef deal, which was secretively signed in order to push through the US-Korea FTA. People are concerned about the health and safety implications of US beef, but they are also expressing broader opposition to the undemocratic and neoliberal direction of Korea and calling on President Lee Myun-Bak to resign.

Candlelight rallies have been held almost daily since 2 May 2008, at times bringing together up to 200,000 people. First initiated by high school students, they attract all sectors of society now (and have been peaceful were it not for the violence unleashed by the riot police) in what has been dubbed an experience in real direct democracy.

Below are some resources in English, French or Spanish to help people outside Korea follow what is happening there.


Sara Flounders, "Strikes, protests besiege South Korean regime", Workers World, 19 June 2008.

Christine Ahn, "South Korea’s beef with America", Foreign Policy in Focus, 13 June 2008.

"Crise du Boeuf américain en Corée", Corean Paradox, 9 juin 2008 [petit synthèse en français].

Ronda Hauben, "South Korean gov’t mishandled beef deal", OhMyNews, 8 June 2008.

Korean Alliance of Progressive Movements, Situation about Korean people’s struggle on beef deal, 6 June 2008 [ EN, ES, FR ]

Kim Kyoung-wook, "Why are the Korean people so angry? It’s no longer about the FTA or beef. It’s neo-fascism", OhMyNews, Seoul, 1 June 2008.

Michael Solis, "Korea: It’s not about the beef anymore - Round 21: Candleholders vs. 2MB", OhMyNews, 30 May 2008

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), South Korean government crack down peaceful demonstration!", action alert, Seoul, 2 June 2008

Martha Rosenberg, "Some downer cow with your kimchi? Meat wars with South Korea", Counter Punch, 15 May 2008

Christine Ahn and GRAIN, "Food safety on the butcher’s block", Foreign Policy in Focus, with addendum, 25 April 2008.

"Corée du sud : le pouvoir déstabilisé par un mouvement autonome", Rebellyon, Lyon, 21 mai 2008.
"Corée du Sud : Le mouvement autonome s’affranchit du pouvoir", Rebellyon, Lyon, 17 juin 2008.

Blogs and news sites

Anti2MB [English]

CINA [English]

Contestation sud-coréenne [français]

Two Koreas [English]

The Hankyoreh [mainstream newspaper]

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)


"Korean people vs US beef", video interview with Geum Soon Yoon, member of Korean Peasant Woman’s Association, taped on 3 June 2008 [ EN, ES, FR ]

MediaCultureAction’s digital graffitti actions in Seoul :
10 June 2008:
6 June 2008:

Al Jazeera, "South Korea’s culture of protest", video report, 14 June 2008.

Chamsaesang [live TV, photos, videos - Korean only]
sample page of photos:

Voice of People [live TV, photos, videos - Korean only]

S Korean police assaults Lee Na-rae (1 June 2008)
Other YouTube postings:

"Ribbons against mad cow", a campaign initiated by Korean women in the US and Canada


People’s Countermeasure Council against the Full Resumption of Imports of US Beef Endangered with Mad Cow Disease [Korean only]

Afreeca [video sharing site, Korean only]

"Candlelight rallies to protest the import of unsafe US beef", photo news, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Seoul, 1 June 2008.

Koreans overseas are also demonstrating, such as in Paris (1 June 2008)

Wikileaks on the police violence

"Korea’s beef with US is about more than exports", National Public Radio, 13 June 2008.

Relevant sections at
 Sanitary and phytosanitary measures

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