14 November 2006
Police Alert Over FTA Demonstration
By Kim Yon-se
Protesters against a free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the United States are planning to bring in hundreds of chartered buses to form a blockade in downtown Seoul during an upcoming demonstration.
``Anti-FTA activists comprised of farmers, laborers and unionized teachers will participate in three protests planned for Nov. 22, Nov. 29 and Dec. 6,’’ a source close to the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) said on Tuesday.
He said, ``Their plan is to have at least one thousand buses park in the middle of Seoul to bring traffic in the city to a standstill.’’
According to other union officials, tens of thousands of farmers across the country are scheduled to arrive in central Seoul in rented buses to join the anti-FTA protest. They said that the bus-blockade will be held on one of the three days. The farmers also plan to stage rallies in their regional strongholds during the rest two days.
``Their behind-the-scenes plan, prepared over the past few months, is aimed at pressing the Roh Moo-hyun administration to drop its policy to sign a free trade deal with Washington,’’ said the source.
He said he believes that Chong Wa Dae has already obtained information about their plan and police will certainly hamper the mass bus-parking around Kwanghwamun and City Hall.
While a KCTU spokesperson declined to unveil the joint union’s strategy, sources forecast the scale of the protest to be massive enough to rival the ``June Protest’’ against the then-military dictatorship in 1987.
As a warning to the government, the union will stage a preliminary demonstration on Nov. 15.