SouthKorean filmmakers across the nation put a stop to production for the day, andstaged a large-scale protest rally against the government's recent announcement- bending to US tradepressure - that it would half the 146-day screen quota. A turn-out of approximately 3,000protestors including filmmakers, actors, students, and citizens' group members,rallied this afternoon (Feb 8) in Seoul, despite the -9 degree Celsius weather.

Theprotestors, led by filmmakers such as director Jung Ji-young(White Badge) and national star Ahn Sung-ki (Silmido), called for a defense ofthe screen quota which they accredit for the growth and strength of the localindustry. Accusing the government of breaking its promise to maintain thequota, they demanded an immediate stop to the US-Korea free trade agreementnegotiations that "are selling out Korea's culturalsovereignty."

Therally was marked by a 500-strong police force sent to protect the protestors, whichincluded more than 100 actors and actresses amongst them, ChoiMin-shik of OldBoy and Jeon Do-yeon ofYou Are My Sunshine.

Onlookerswere kept behind police lines during the rally in front of the major Gwanghwamun intersection, and applauded as the protestors marchedthrough downtown Seoul with a finalstop at Myungdong Cathedral, symbolic sanctuary foranti-government protestors.

Today'srally follows a ramp-up of overnight vigils held by filmmakers, and a series ofone-man protests by stars in downtown Seoul. Yesterdaysaw Choi Min-shik, in themidst of his one-man protest, returning a medal that had been awarded him bythe ministry of culture after Old Boywon the jury prize at Cannes.

Major newspapers in theChinese-language territories and Japan, affected by the Korean Wave, have been reportingthe one-man protests. The Promisestar Jang Dong-gun staged Monday's protest in the Gwanghwamunarea, but had to be moved to a larger space in front of the National Assemblydue to a crush of fans. After participating in the protests, Jang is scheduledto fly to Berlin in time for the screening of his film out of Competition.