- SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean
student protesters threw firebombs at a U.S. military base in Seoul on
Monday in a fresh protest against the acquittal last week of two U.S. soldiers
involved in an accident that killed two girls.
- Some 20 students tossed 15 home-made Molotov cocktails
at Camp Gray, a small storage facility several kilometers (miles) from
the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) headquarters, local police and U.S. military
- In separate U.S. court-martial trials last week, the
driver and navigator of a U.S. armored vehicle were found not guilty of
negligent homicide in a June accident in which two 13-year-old schoolgirls
were crushed while walking on a village road.
- The emotive case was tried as South Korea and the United
States were struggling to maintain a united stance in dealing with North
Korea's nuclear arms program, which was revealed last month and has put
a damper on improving North-South ties.
- The acquittals angered local activists and sparked anti-U.S.
rallies by opponents of the presence of 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea.
On Saturday, 500 people demonstrated outside the USFK headquarters in central
- The firebomb attacks early on Monday morning ignited
a small fire near the gate of Camp Gray. The fire was quickly extinguished
without causing damage or injuries, U.S. Eighth Army spokesman Lt. Col.
Steven Boylan said.
- The students spread leaflets describing themselves as
Korean Students Seeking Punishment for the Murderous American Soldiers,
- The United States maintains nearly 100 military installations
in South Korea as a deterrent against the communist North.
- The United States and South Korea are formal military
allies. But pollution, noise and traffic from the U.S. bases and occasional
crimes by American troops have been a source of friction with communities
near U.S. facilities.
- Protesters have insisted the soldiers be tried in South
Korean courts, opposing a bilateral treaty granting the U.S. military jurisdiction
in cases involving soldiers on duty.
- South Korea's main political parties have seized upon
the verdicts to demand revision of an agreement on the treaty governing
the legal status of U.S. troops in South Korea.
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