The prolonged protest against Seoul' s agreement to resume importing US beef showed no signs of easing up as thousands were expected to hold the nightly candlelight rally Monday despite ongoing discussions in Washington on ways to restrict shipments of beef cuts which pose a higher risk of mad cow disease.
Thousands of protesters were expected to again gather later Monday in downtown Seoul to continue their candlelight vigils that began early May.
A South Korean delegation, led by Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, has been in discussions with the US in what many government officials said was a "de facto renegotiation" of the deal to resume US beef imports.
US ambassador to Seoul Alexander Vershbow, too, last week said the two countries may soon come to "additional understandings" on ways to limit shipments of beef cuts from cattle aged 30 months or older, which are known to carry a higher risk of the deadly mad cow disease.
The protesters are, however, vowing to continue their late night street rallies until the government promises a renegotiation – if not the scrapping – of the deal reached in April.
A street rally last Tuesday attracted a record 80,000 people in Seoul alone.
(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2008)