Nationwide rallies against S. Korea-U.S. FTA set for Wednesday
SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Yonhap) — South Korean activist groups said Tuesday that nationwide mass rallies against a free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the United States are scheduled for late Wednesday.
More than 300,000 people are to participate in the street rallies, which will take place in 13 cities in South Korea, the Korean Alliance Against the Korea-U.S. FTA said.
It added that major protest rallies are expected in Seoul and Kwangju, where about 50,000 people are expected to participate.
While the alliance said they will stage peaceful protests, police worry they may turn violent.
The National Police Agency said it will only permit peaceful demonstrations and will have a large police presence in and around the 13 cities.
An official from the alliance said they did not yet a receive permit for the rally in Seoul, although they pledged to hold a peaceful protest. He added that they will carry on with a peaceful rally even if they are not allowed to do so.
South Korea and the U.S. hope to wrap up the free trade negotiations by next March, but the talks are facing strong criticism here from farmers who fear that the deal will devastate their livelihoods by enabling a flood of cheap U.S. farm products.