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Desperate Suicide Protest in Cancun

by worker Thursday, Sep. 11, 2003 at 3:42 PM

1). Lee Kyang Hae lies mortally wounded from a self inflicted stabbing. The leader of the South Korean Federation of Farmers and Fishermen, stabbed himself as a desperate protest against the total destruction of the livelihood of Korean Fishermen and Farmers by the WTO. Minutes after this photo was taken... Lee Kyang Hae was dead. 2). A Korean protestor weeps upon hearing of Lee Kyang Hae's death. 3). A member of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions reacts to the news of Hae's death. 4). Hundreds of KCTU militants hold a sit-in in the streets to morn the death of their comrade.

Desperate Suicide Pr...
korean-suicide.jpg, image/jpeg, 665x476

South Korean activist kills himself, others injured in Cancun protest

Sept 10th, 2003

CANCUN, Mexico (AFP) - A South Korean man killed himself, and several other militants were injured in clashes with police during a protest against a World Trade Organization conference in the Mexican resort of Cancun.

Lee Kyang Hae, 55, who headed South Korea's Federation of Farmers and Fishermen, stabbed himself in protest against the WTO, "which destroys Korea's economy and its agriculture," a fellow-militant said.

"His death is not a personal accident but reflects the desperate fighting of 3.5 million Korean farmers," said Song Nan Sou, president of the Farmers Management Association, one of several South Korean groups taking part in demonstrations at the Mexican seaside resort.

Wednesday's dramatic suicide protest took place as ministers from 146 nations launched a five-day WTO conference aimed at breaking a two-year deadlock in trade liberalization talks. "We all regret this sad incident," WTO Director General Supachai Panitchpakdi said after Lee died in a Cancun hospital. "This self-inflicted wound has resulted in his death, so we do regret it," he said. The US delegation also expressed sadness at the death. "It's always unfortunate to see loss of life in a situation like this," said spokesman Richard Mill. "It's sad and it's unfortunate," he said. [MY NOTE: Yes... the rich prefer their victims to slowly die of starvation out of view of the cameras.]

About 100 South Korean protesters later staged a silent sit-down outside the hospital where Lee had been taken with a punctured lung. They unfurled a blanket on which they had written: "WTO kills." Lee stabbed himself on the sidelines of a protest by several thousand people, which ended in clashes between police and a few hundred demonstrators.

Several people were injured as police used teargas and batons to disperse demonstrators who tried to force their way through a barrier blocking the route from downtown Cancun to the conference venue. Barriers and a massive security force deployment kept the demonstrators more than 10 kilometers (six miles) away from the convention center hosting the WTO conference. Authorities have mobilized 20,000 military and police troops to ensure the security of the thousands of WTO delegates.

Chanting "no to trade" and "no to the WTO," demonstrators marched through the center of Cancun, totally cut off from the narrow strip of land, known as the hotel zone, where the convention center is located. Americans, Koreans and Europeans joined Mexican students and peasants in the protest.

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