Thousands stage protest in Seoul

South Korean employees angered by proposed USFK job cuts


By T.D. Flack and Hwang Hae-rym, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Sunday, June 5, 2005

SEOUL — Nearly 4,000 South Korean employees who work on U.S. bases across South Korea gathered Friday in Seoul to peacefully protest their government and U.S. Forces Korea because of proposed job cuts.

Almost 90 percent of the 13,000-member Korean Employees Union (KEU) voted a month ago to stage protests in response to a U.S. Forces Korea announcement that it would cut as many as 1,000 jobs because South Korea reduced the amount of money it pays to help base U.S. troops on the peninsula. Officials from the two countries signed a two-year agreement in late April that requires South Korea to pay 680.4 billion won (about $680 million) annually, an 8.9 percent drop from last year’s 746.9 billion won payment.

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