South Korea: people protest free trade talks with US

Police occupied the middle of Seoul's main thoroughfare near city hall as up to about 5,000 protesters decked out in rain gear and holding banners and flags demonstrated on a grassy rain-soaked plaza nearby. Police buses and fire engines also block the street.

Several rallies were taking place in different parts of the city, with turnout in the tens of thousands expected, organizers and police said. Some protesters planned to attempt a march on the presidential Blue House later in the day, the AP reports.

The protests come as U.S. and South Korean negotiators met for a third day at a luxury hotel across town to hammer out a free trade agreement that would slash tariffs and other trade barriers between the nations, the AP reports.

The two sides kicked off the negotiations last month in Washington and say an agreement will increase trade and contribute to growth in the world's largest and 10th-largest economies. They hope to wrap up a deal by the end of the year to submit to their legislatures.

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