South Korea's Buddhists March Against President

August 27, 2008

Author: Jeong Jae-hyun

Source: International Herald Tribune

Wire Service: AP

Tens of thousands of South Korean Buddhists rallied Wednesday against alleged religious discrimination by the government of President Lee Myung-bak, the latest setback for his protest-plagued administration.

Discontent among Buddhists has been brewing for months over Lee's alleged favoritism toward Christianity. Buddhists have criticized Lee, a Presbyterian, for filling most of his Cabinet and top presidential posts with other Christians.

Police estimated that 60,000 people, including 7,000 monks clad in gray Buddhist garb, gathered Wednesday in front of Seoul's City Hall.

"Oppose religious discrimination," the crowd chanted on the grassy plaza as they urged Lee to offer a public apology and fire the head of the national police agency for what they claim is religious discrimination.

They warned they would intensify their protests unless the government takes "sincere steps."