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South Koreans rally against US beef import


Seoul: Hundreds of South Koreans held a candlelight rally in the capital Wednesday evening to protest the government’s decision to continue beef imports from the US even after the detection of mad cow disease.

A crowd estimated by police at 500 and by organisers at 1,000 gathered in central Seoul to press the government to immediately halt beef imports, Xinhua reported.

Demonstrators waved candles, sang songs and held banners that said “protect the sovereignty of the people” and “stop US beef imports”.

About 4,000 police officers were put on duty to prevent any illegal activity.

“I don’t want my children to eat meat infected with mad cow disease,” said Kim Kyung-ah, a 34-year-old mother of two sons.

The government said it will continue beef imports but will step up inspection of the products following the discovery of mad cow disease in a California cow.

South Korea is the fourth-largest importer of US beef. The country imported 107,000 tonnes in 2011.

The country experienced similar candlelight protests in 2008 when the government decided to resume US beef imports. The country banned such import in 2003 after a mad cow disease case surfaced.