- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 15, 2002

SEOUL Tens of thousands of South Koreans holding candles marched through Seoul yesterday to protest the deaths of two South Korean girls who were hit by a U.S. military vehicle.
Anti-U.S. sentiment in South Korea, a key U.S. ally, rose after two U.S. soldiers involved in the accident were acquitted of negligent homicide charges in U.S. military courts in November.
A large crowd gathered in downtown Seoul, shouting, "Bring back alive Shin Hyo-sun and Shim Mi-son." The two 13-year-old girls were on their way to a friend's birthday party when they were run over and killed in June.
Organizers said that about 300,000 people joined the protests in South Korea. Without giving their own estimate, police said the organizers' figure was inflated. Local media estimated the crowd in Seoul at 30,000 to 50,000.
After a two-hour rally in Seoul, protesters with candles marched and sang the popular Korean folk song "Arirang." Police stopped them a block from the U.S. Embassy. Some protesters tore apart four large U.S. flags.
There were no immediate reports of violent clashes between marchers and thousands of police deployed nationwide.
In Daegu, a city 200 miles southeast of Seoul, two students broke into a U.S. military base and climbed onto a 100-foot-high water tank.
Television footage showed the students, draped in South Korean flags, shouting, "Retry them in our court." They were arrested by South Korean police two hours later, all-news cable network YTN said.
Protesters in Seoul clapped and roared when speakers demanded a retrial of the soldiers in a South Korean court and a revision of an agreement with Washington to give South Korea more jurisdiction over the 37,000 U.S. troops stationed here.
Protesters denounced the South Korean president, Kim Dae-jung, for "groveling" to the United States and called him a U.S. "puppet."
President Bush apologized for the accident in a telephone conversation Friday night with Mr. Kim. Mr. Bush "pledged to work closely with the South Korean government to prevent such accidents in the future," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
But activists said the apologies fell short of their main demand: more South Korean jurisdiction over U.S. troops.

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