SEOUL – South Korean police arrested 157 people at a rally in Seoul opposing the resumption of U.S. beef imports.

Officials said that about 5,500 people rallied in the capital on Friday and the protest continued to Saturday. Police reportedly fired water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Police arrested 157 people on charges of staging unauthorized demonstrations, illegally occupying streets and defying orders to disperse, the official said.

The first shipment of U.S. beef under a new import deal arrived in South Korea last month, amid lingering public concerns over mad cow disease. The two countries struck the import deal in April that was followed by weeks of protests around the country.

South Korea was the third-largest overseas market for U.S. beef until it banned imports after a case of mad cow disease was detected in 2003, the first of three confirmed cases in the United States.

Protests against U.S. beef imports have gradually subsided. Friday’s protest was an attempt to launch a large scale rally, reportedly saying it would mark their 100th major demonstration against the imports.


Source: Associated Press