As the typhoon "Ewinia" hit the Korean peninsula, the struggle against the 2nd round of Korea- US Fair Trade Agreement (FTA) talks started. The 2nd meeting of the FTA talks started on the 10th of July. Despite the fact that the public opinion is dramatically turning against the FTA, the Korean government does not stop pushing the FTA. According to the opinion polls, only 27 percent of the population say they believe it would be more beneficial than harmful.
The first day of the FTA meeting on 10th July started with provocation from 3,000 riot police. When the Korean Alliance of the Korea US FTA(KoA) representatives tried to have a conference in front of Hotel Shilla where the FTA meeting was being held, the riot police rushed into the site of the press conference. Riot police even took away a truck that was being used as a stage for the event.
July the 12th, the peak of the struggle, started with informal workers' struggle demanding to Stop the Korea-US FTA with irregular workers's issue. Farmers, Workers, Street Vendors and the poor had rallies by sectors around the central part of Seoul. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) held a rally demanding 'Stop the Korea-US FTA, Withdraw a Roadmap for modernizing Industrial Relationship, Achieve Basic 3 Rights for informal Workers" at Seoul Station before the National Rally against Korea-US FTA.
While more than 50,000 people joined the national rally in front of Seoul City Hall, KoA declared to continue its struggle to end the negotiation process and to demand president Rho Mu-hyun to step down unless the government stops the FTA negotiations. Clashing with riot police when the demonstrators tried to march toward the presidential residence, the protestors were chanting anti-globaliztion and anti-Korea-US FTA slogans. Tension rose when the riot police suppressed demonstrators with water canons. The police blocked the main street and shut down several subway stations as well. At the end of the day, the demonstrators closed the rally in front of the US embassy.
Struggle continued during the talks over the FTA. On the 13th 2,000 farmers and anti-globalization activists had a Korea-US FTA funeral march to the meeting place. The struggle against the 2nd round of talks ended with the end of the talks. Our struggle, however, is not yet over. We, the Korean Alliance against the Korea-US FTA, is organizing many campaigns and mobilization against it. We are planning to go to the US for the 3rd round of the Korea-US FTA meeting and we will keep fighting in solidarity with people in the US and all over the world to end the Korea-US FTA and Neoliberal globalization. KoA