Housewives test South Korean summit security

The huge security operation thrown up around an Asia-Pacific summit faced its first test on Wednesday—from a handful of housewives angry at United States President George Bush.

Four middle-aged women, who unfurled banners and shouted slogans, were hauled away by some of the 300 riot police deployed in front of the Westin Chosun hotel, following Bush’s arrival earlier on Wednesday.

“Bush, get out of South Korea,” said one of the half-dozen women who turned up to protest outside the hotel.

South Korean security forces have clamped a ring of steel around the southern city of Busan after anti-globalisation activists and farmers vowed to rally 100 000 people against the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit.

Security officials say up to 46 000 police, troops and undercover agents have been mobilised to protect the leaders of the 21 Apec members meeting from Friday.

The women protested the expansion of a US military base at Pyongtaek, south of Seoul, where US forces are being relocated over the next few years under a realignment plan.

“No to the US expansion of Pyongtaek,” chanted one of the women.

About 32 000 US troops are based in South Korea as a deterrent to North Korea.—Sapa-AFP

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