Rallies continue at home, in U.S. over girls' deaths

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Rallies continue at home, in U.S. over girls' deaths

NEW YORK -- Activists from Korea arrived in the United States yesterday to protest the ac-quittals of the two American soldiers involved in the June deaths of two Korean school girls. Meanwhile, entertainers across Korea are gathering to honor the memory of the two girls and protest the ruling of the U.S. courts-martial.

Seven members of the Pan National Committee, which has been staging protests since the girls were crushed by a U.S. armored vehicle during a training exercise, arrived in New York yesterday and staged a demonstration in front of the United Nations headquarters.

They distributed pamphlets to passers-by saying the case was inappropriately resolved and presented a letter of protest to Kofi Annan, secretary general of the UN. The activists also displayed photos of the girls and the accident scene in Times Square and visited the International Action Center, an international human rights organization headquartered in New York, to discuss a joint demonstration.

The activists will leave for Washington today to hold another photo exhibition and demonstration in front of the White House. Saturday they will send the White House a letter appealing for the revision of the Status of Forces Agreement, a set of rules governing U.S. troops in Korea.

In Korea, singers Lee Jeong-hyeon, Yoon Do-hyoun, Ahn Chi-hwan, Psy, Lee Eun-mi, Kwon Jin-won and Jeong Tae-choon have signed and circulated a petition protesting the acquittal of U.S. Army Sergeant Fernando Nino and Sergeant Mark Walker. Comedians Jeon Yu-seong and Kim Mi-hwa, and actors Gwon He-hyo and Chu Sang-mi also participated in the signature drive.

Lee Jeong-hyeon, who last Monday joined a candlelight vigil for the two girls in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, said, "I participated in the demonstration because I felt so sorry for the deaths of the two girls." The Ahn Chi-hwan Band, which has re-corded a song in memory of the girls, said it would perform at a rally in front of the Seoul city hall on Dec. 14. The Pan National Committee said it would continue its protests until Dec. 18, the day before the presidential election.

by Shim Shang-bok, Lee Eun-ju

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