Scuffle in South Korean parliament leaves MPs hurt

South Korean opposition lawmakers scuffled with security personnel as guards tried to end their blockade of the assembly.

Scuffle in South Korean parliament leaves MPs hurt

South Korean opposition lawmakers scuffled with security personnel on Saturday as guards tried to end their blockade of the assembly that has paralysed parliament and delayed voting on a U.S. trade deal and reform bills.

The ruling Grand National Party (GNP) has been thwarted in its attempt to push through the trade deal, sweeping tax cuts and plans to privatise state firms by opposition lawmakers who have blockaded the door to the main parliament chamber.

More than 200 parliament security guards stormed the assembly building rotunda where opposition lawmakers have camped out and a large scuffle broke out, sending some MPs and guards to hospital for treatment for minor injuries.

The main opposition Democratic Party has called conservative President Lee Myung-bak and his GNP's reform bills "evil" and pledged to block them. It called Saturday's action by parliament security, which was ordered by its speaker, illegal.

The latest attempt to strike a deal to end the impasse broke down on Friday, when a meeting of GNP and opposition leaders ended in a dispute over the participation of a minor opposition party.

The GNP has outlined 85 bills it wants to pass that also include measures to ease bank ownership rules, give debt-relief to low income households and revamp the broadcast industry.

Lee, in a major policy speech on Friday, called on MPs to move on the reform agenda to help the export-drive economy steer through the global financial crisis.

South Korea and the United States struck the trade deal in 2007 that some studies said would boost their $78 billion a year two-way trade by about $20 billion, but neither country's legislatures has approved it.

Reuters
Last Mod: 03 Ocak 2009, 11:26
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