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US Democrats join Korean protesters

Korea Times, Seoul

US Democrats join Korean protesters

8 June 2006

WASHINGTON (Yonhap) — Downtown traffic was temporarily jammed Wednesday as South Korean protesters opposing a trade agreement with the United States rallied the Buddhist way, bowing to the ground every three steps.
The marchers started off Market Square near the U.S. Capitol and proceeded nearly 10 blocks before the police ordered them to stop. Police officials said the march was taking too long and could no longer receive protection.

Standing in group of threes, more than 60 demonstrators were given the sidewalk and a traffic lane to march west from the Capitol. "Down with the FTA (free trade agreement)!" they chanted every time they bowed to the ground.

Flag-bearers and drummers followed at the end of the line.

Protesters passed out leaflets and pamphlets to bystanders as they went.

The protest followed a joint news conference with a group of U.S. Democrats who oppose the FTA as officials of the two countries began a third day of negotiations here.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), addressing a rally at the Cannon House building terrace, said he opposes the FTA to "adequately represent the interest of our constituents."

"This agreement will not benefit the peoples of either countries, will not benefit particularly workers and farmers but instead will only benefit large corporations," he said in a joint statement with Rep. Kang Ki-kab of South Korea.

"We will take various actions with NGOs, parliament and Congress," he said. "Both myself and Rep. Kang will seek action and joint statements from other elected officials of our respective countries (at the next found of FTA talks)."

Kang, of the Democratic Labor Party, said the path to co-existence and co-prosperity lies in "embracing the weak, the disadvantaged — not to push them into competition."

"We will make our appeals based on this truth," he told the rally. "We will resist the FTA by letting the world know of its unfairness."

Kang flew in from Seoul with some 40 other South Koreans to stage anti-FTA demonstrations in Washington. They have been joined by American groups opposing "economic colonization" by large corporations and by Korean Americans across the U.S.