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S Koreans Protest Against US Beef, Reforms

From a very sympathetic Reuters:

South Korean protesters take part in a candle rally against U.S imported beef in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, June 21, 2008.

Mass protests in South Korea

By Jon Herskovitz and Yoo Choonsik

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s entire cabinet offered to resign on Tuesday in the face of massive street protests, as its increasingly unpopular president warned that Asia’s fourth-largest economy could be heading into crisis.

The protests against the government, in office barely three months, were sparked by public outcry over a deal to widen its market to U.S. beef imports and have cast a darkening cloud over President Lee Myung-bak’s plans for sweeping reform.

“The prime minister offered the cabinet’s resignation at the regular meeting this morning (with Lee),” a spokeswoman at the prime minister’s office said, in what local media said was a response to the mounting anti-government protests.

Tens of thousands of protesters chanting “Lee Myung-bak go away” clogged the streets of central Seoul in a candle-light rally attended by mothers toting children, radical labor groups, office workers and college students.

Police sealed off roads in the capital, stacking sand-filled shipping containers to block the main street leading to the presidential Blue House and deployed high-pressure water cannons to disperse any violent protesters.

Organizers said 700,000 gathered in Seoul for the largest anti-Lee rally to date. Police put the number at 80,000 while some local media estimated the crowd at 200,000 to 400,000.

I want to denounce not only the beef deal, but the other policies of the Lee Myung-bak government. I’m just one person, but I think the president will listen to me when I speak loudly with so many others,” said protester Sang Mi-ra…

The April beef deal with the United States was meant to help a separate bilateral free trade accord that U.S. congressional leaders threatened to block unless South Korea opened up its market to beef imports.

But widespread concern over mad-cow disease in U.S. beef quickly turned the issue into a lightning rod for a broad range of grievances against Lee’s government that the public increasingly sees as out of touch with its concerns.

Lee won December’s presidential election over an unpopular liberal foe by a landslide

Truck drivers, following the lead of unions in a number of countries across Asia and Europe, voted on Monday to go on strike over rising fuel prices. They ignored the government’s $10.2 billion financial aid package announced a day before and designed in part to cushion the impact of mounting energy costs.

Other unions also voted on whether to strike and slow down production at auto plants and other factories.

The growing political storm has all but blocked the government’s plans for major economic reform, including tax cuts, mass privatization of major state-run firms and banks and efforts to make the country more accessible to foreign investment.

The new conservative-dominated parliament has been unable to sit because the opposition has boycotted its opening

Of course none of this has anything whatsoever to do with Mad Cow Disease. That is simply the handiest thing to bash the US over and block any upcoming reforms.

This is the work of communists and unionists who want to overthrow South Korea’s newly elected conservative government. Who, as even the article grudgingly concedes, won the recent election in a landslide.

But we can’t allow elections to stand if they put the wrong people in power.

So the communists and union thugs and the media whip up the ignorant and those at the public trough and get them out on the street.

Which, oddly enough, is how our local left think things should be done.

By the way, someone might inform the South Koreans that Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) was never much of a problem in the United States.


(BSE is the disease in cattle, while vCJD is the disease in people.)

Beef from the US is far safer than beef from most other sources.

But any port in a storm.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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