10.000 Korean peasant rally to stop opening up rice market

More than 10.000 peasant and small farmer go for rally in the city of Seoul, South Korea on Tuesday (15/11). They are protesting the intention of the government and the congress to open the rice market in South Korea. The peasant who joined the rally are the member of Korean Peasant League (KPL) and KWPA, who came from many province in South Korea.

Riding buses from their villages and farmlands, peasant come around 12 in the afternoon  to the open park close to the parliament building around the business complex in the city of Seoul. The open park at that afternoon is full with peasant using their various attribute in the Korean language.

This month the Korean peasant is angry with the intention of the government and members of parliament to open up the rice market. The tension becomes stronger as the Korean now hosting the APEC Summit, where some 21 leaders commit to attend. The APEC Summit is predicted will resulting the more liberalization on the market, including the agriculture.

The Korean peasants believe that such opening up market is resulted by the pressure of the WTO agreement. That is why during the rally they condemn the WTO and WTO out of agriculture. The rally also become the part of the preparation towards the sixth ministerial meeting (MC6) of WTO in Hong Kong this December.

La Via Campesina, an international peasant movement organization to where the KPL and KWPA become the member, send two of representatives from the Federation of Indonesian Peasant Union (FSPI) during this rally.

The peasant in the rally then move slowly with their banners to the parliament building, where the police has blocked the road with buses. The peasant insisted to enter but the police keep on blocking, until some injuries on the both side occurred. Some of ten police buses are reported on fire during the action. The KPL confirms that 400 peasant were light injured, 100 with serious injured and some 55 peasant detained in the police after the rally.

The rally end at around 7 in the evening, but they will continue their struggle on 18 November in Busan, during the APEC Summit.