Reuters reported on Friday that in Pyongtaek in South Korea, riot police fought pitched battles with anti-U.S. protesters and farmers on Thursday, as authorities moved to clear two rural townships to pave the way for a new U.S. military base. About 1,000 protesters, many wielding bamboo sticks, clashed with police armed with batons in an area about 70 km south of Seoul where land for the base has been allocated. Scores of protesters were hurt, with at least two, who appeared to be unconscious, carried away on stretchers.
Reuters photographer Lee Jae-won (who wrote this text I'm plagiarising), suffered lacerated lips and hands when he and about a dozen other journalists, wearing helmets and armbands identifying them as media, were beaten by police.
The confrontation has been brewing for months since about 100 farmers refused to vacate the area where South Korea and the United States agreed two years ago to move the main U.S. military base now in Seoul and several others throughout the country. The number of protesters, many of whom are anti-U.S. activists, unionists and students, had swelled overnight after reports the government would send in thousands of police and military engineers to clear the 9.4-square km area.
About 30,000 U.S. troops are stationed in the country alongside South Korea's military to defend against possible aggression by communist North Korea. South and North Korea remain technically at war under the inconclusive truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean war.