SEOUL, Feb 12 Asia Pulse — A group of 20 farmers opposing free trade talks between South Korea and the United States staged a demonstration on Monday using a pig and goats in downtown Seoul, police and witnesses said.
The farmers, wearing jackets emblazoned with messages disapproving of the talks to seal a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries, stormed into the bustling Myeongdong fashion district in several carloads and released one pig, six goats and about 300 radishes, they said.
Police scrambled to control the scene, rounding up the animals and taking into custody one 32-year-old farmer, identified only by his surname, Jeong, witnesses said.
The seventh round of FTA talks is underway in Washington between top negotiators of the two countries, who are racing against an April 2 deadline to take advantage of U.S. President George W. Bush’s "fast-track" trade promotion authority.
South Korean farmers and workers have strenuously opposed the talks, arguing that the proposed pact would destroy their livelihoods with an influx of cheaper U.S. goods and degraded working conditions in South Korea.