Thousands of people, protesting in Seoul against the resumption of US beef imports, have been dispersed by South Korea police, using water cannon.
The protests took place as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted in Seoul that US beef was safe to eat.
In 2003, after a case of mad cow disease, or BSE, was identified there, South Korea suspended US beef imports.
The ban has been formally lifted earlier this week, allowing shipments of meat from young cattle.
In April, an agreement was reached on ending the ban, which was due to be lifted in May. However, as protests continnued and despite reassurances that US meat was safe, it was postponed twice.
On Saturday, at least 13 000 people demonstrated in Seoul, police said.
‘We don’t need US mad cows’
Barricades have been erected by the police, which used buses in order to prevent the protesters from marching towards the presidential office.
“We don’t need US troops, we don’t need US mad cows”, read some of the slogans.
In South Korea, public anger remains high, because many perceived it as the government’s readiness to cave into Washington, ignoring health concerns.
While Ms Rice was visiting Seoul came the latest protest.
“I can only say that American beef is safe and that we hope in time the South Korean people will listen to that, and will be willing to listen to what their government is saying and what we are saying”, Ms Rice said.