Violent Korean farmers granted voice at Hong Kong WTO meet

Original Publication Date: 
13 November, 2005
HONG KONG, (AFP) - A militant Korean farmers' group, considered among the world's most violent anti-globalisation groups, has been granted a permit for an upcoming trade summit in Hong Kong, an official website revealed.

The Korean Peasants League will join thousands of other non government organsiations and protesters at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Sixth Minisiterial Conference here next month, the event's website said.

A member of the organisation, which is opposed to the slashing of subsidies to farmers, stabbed himself to death during a protest at the WTO's last ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003.

The organisation's members also regularly clash with Korean police at domestic protests.

The Hong Kong summit is expected to attract some 10,000 NGOs and protesters opposed to the gathering's goals of reducing barriers to trade.

Its aim of ending farming subsidies is an emotive one with some NGOs in favour of deeper cuts than the WTO is proposing and others calling for greater protection of national agricultural interests.

Hong Kong authorities say they are pulling out all the stops to ensure there is none of the anti-globalisation protest-related violence at December's meeting that marred similar international gatherings.

Police chief inspector Alfred Ma said the Korean group's inclusion on the list of attending NGOs would have no impact on security arrangements.

"We do not consider them particularly militant," Ma told AFP. "They are simply one of the groups that likes to make themselves known."