[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
S Koreans protest against trade deal with US
Authorities detain at least 15 people after police clash with demonstrators in the capital Seoul.
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2011 11:56
Riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters gathered in front of the National Assembly [Reuters]

South Korean authorities have detained at least 15 people after police clashed with protesters demonstrating against the country’s free-trade agreement with the US.

Riot police used water cannons on Thursday to disperse an estimated 2,000 protesters who gathered in front of the National Assembly in the capital Seoul, before a parliamentary vote to ratify the pact.

The South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been approved by the government but still requires approval from Korea's legislature.

The protesters claimed the pact would endanger their country's agriculture industry by flooding the market with cheaper imported goods.

"This agreement is totally shameful and it betrays our country," Kim Won-yeol, a protester, said.

"This agreement also seriously damages our citizens' goods, so many people have gathered here to stop the FTA from being ratified at the National Assembly."

The demonstrators said they wanted Lee Myung-bak, the country’s president, and his ruling Grand National Party to renegotiate the deal with the US.

Korea's parliament was scheduled to vote to ratify the FTA at its general meeting on Thursday afternoon.

The pact is America's biggest free-trade agreement since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.

South Korea is the world's 12th largest economy and US-South Korea trade amounted to $90.2bn last year.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.