Anti-Bush Demonstrators Fight Police
Feb. 20, 2002
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Hundreds of people protesting the visit of President Bush fought riot police who tried to stop them from burning an American flag in downtown Seoul on Wednesday.
The protesters, some wearing headbands with slogans that read ``We oppose the United States,'' threw bottles and pounded on police shields with clubs. Ambulances took away several injured activists.
At least 2,000 demonstrators attended the march, which started out peacefully at a park. Fighting began after police tried to stop activists from burning an American flag.
Later, protesters burned American flags and a picture of Bush on which was written: ``Bush is the axis of evil.''
Many protesters were farmers who complained that World Trade Organization rules had undercut their business with cheap imports.
``Our farmers are struggling because the United States keeps pressuring South Korea to open its rice market,'' said Kim Hee-sang, a 31-year-old farmer.
Bush was visiting the heavily armed border between North and South Korea when the demonstration started. Anti-U.S. activists say his tough talk on the communist North has heightened tension on the Korean peninsula.
Also Wednesday, near the border area that Bush visited, hundreds of Korean War veterans held a rally supporting Bush and his criticism of the North's regime.
``Bush, freedom defender,'' read a sign held by a veteran in a camouflage military uniform. Many veterans wore headbands emblazoned with signs such as ``freedom'' and ``anti-communism.''