The Korea Herald


S. Korean activists hold another 'Occupy Seoul' protests


Published : Oct. 23, 2011 - 09:20

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SEOUL (Yonhap) -- A group of civic and labor activists rallied in Seoul Saturday to protest what they called the greed of financial institutions and the growing income disparity in the country.

The rally, the second of its kind since Oct. 15, was in concert with the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that began in the United States. They, among other things, urged Korean lawmakers not to approve the free trade agreement (FTA) with the United states.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed the FTA with South Korea into law Friday (Washington time) after Congress approved it last week. South Korea's legislature has yet to ratify it.

The "Occupy Seoul" rally drew several hundred protesters. They claimed that the FTA with the U.S. will only benefit the top 1 percent of the South Korean population.

This, they insisted, will fuel wealth disparity between the haves and have-nots that has become a serious social issue in South Korea.

"The pact passed by the U.S. Congress aims to burden South Korean workers with the economic crisis taking place in the United States," said a statement adopted at the rally.

In addition to the "Occupy Seoul" rally, the progressive Korea Confederation of Trade Unions, held a separate protest rally calling for an end to discrimination between regular and non-regular workers and more welfare benefits.

The labor protesters also asked South Korea's National Assembly not to ratify the FTA with Washington.

The two groups later joined forces, marching 1,1 kilometers down the Seoul streets, police said.