An estimated 10,000protestors rallied in Seoul todemonstrate against the reduction of Korea's Screen Quota and the US-Korea free tradenegotiations on Saturday (July 1), the day that the reduced quota wasintroduced.

Top stars such as AhnSung-ki (Silmido) and Choi Min-shik (Old Boy) led filmmakers, academics andrepresentatives from financial, cultural and audio-visual forums. They werealso joined by citizen's groups, politicians and religious groups.

Giving in to long-standingUS demands to cut the former 146-day Screen Quota as a prerequisite to openingfree trade talks, the Korean government put a new reduced screen quota of 73 days intoplace starting July 1.

Yang Gi-hwan, head of theKorean Coalition for Cultural Diversity, stated: "The Screen Quota is ananti-trust law that blocks Hollywood films from monopolising distribution". Others readstatements against the Korea-US free trade agreement (FTA), chanted for PresidentRoh Moo-hyun's resignation and demanded that the original quota be restored.

Jonathan Kim, head of the Korean MotionPicture Producers' Association, said: "Hollywood blockbusters have been dominating the local market for almost threemonths now and the influence of the Korean Wave is decreasing in Japan and China. It's a dangerous idea for the government to talk ofthe film industry going independent at a time like this."

Riot police stood by untilprotestors started to burn effigies of the "Five Enemies [of the country]" whospearheaded the move towards FTA talks. Four effigies, including that offinance minister Han Duck-soo (who resigned over the weekend after a series ofscandals within his ministry), were left to burn while police managed to wrestaway that of the president.

Later, protestors marchedseveral kilometers downtown to Gwanghwamun Citizen's Square where culturalevents were held, including a political satire in the manner of hit movie King And The Clownand a martial arts performance choreographed by Jung Doo-hong (The City Of Violence).

Filmmakers have been holdinga relay of daily solo protests, and the last - the symbolic 146th - is to betaken on by veteran director Im Kwon-taek, currently working on his 100th film.Production has stopped for three days (July 1 -3) and all 145 of the other soloprotestors are to join Im this evening in Gwanghwamun.

Over the weekend, Superman Returns continued the so-calledHollywood blockbuster tsunami in Korea. Distributor Warner Brothers Korea says the film,released on June 28 on 350 screens, has taken in more than 1 million admissionsnationwide.

With the new reduced Quotastarting in the second half of the year, there has been some confusion as toexactly how many days theatres should be screening local films this year. TheMinistry of Culture and Tourism has come up with the math saying "a maximum of109 days", but has yet to announce a definitive minimum.