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Koreans protest U.S. free trade agreement

Published Jun 12, 2008 8:58 PM

About 125 members of Nodutdol, the Korean Democratic Labor Party, the International Action Center and others held a demonstration and candlelight vigil June 7 in the heart of New York City’s Koreatown at 32nd Street and Sixth Avenue. The demonstrators opposed the U.S.-South Korean Free Trade Agreement and U.S. imports of beef to South Korea and threw a spotlight on the severe repression anti-FTA protesters have suffered at the hands of South Korean riot cops. Korean protesters, including many women, have been beaten down, gassed and hosed down with water cannons in cop riots in recent weeks in Seoul, the capital.

The demonstration showed that New York’s Koreans are united around the demands to respect Korean sovereignty, respect peaceful protest in the Republic of Korea as well as the U.S., and to oppose police brutality.

Nodutdol’s statement said, “We at Nodutdol support the efforts of the organizers of Saturday’s vigil. We hope that this vigil and other follow-up actions will contribute to a growing broad-based movement here in the United States that opposes the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.We also support the Korean people’s right to protest oppressive government policies that affect their daily lives and well-being.”

—Eric Struch