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South Korean lawmaker fires tear gas in parliament amid anger at US trade pact

A South Korean opposition leader fired tear gas amid ratification of a trade deal with the U.S. Msnbc.com's Dara Brown reports.

Yonhap News Television via EPA

Representative Kim Seon-dong of South Korea's opposition Democratic Labor Party explodes a tear gas canister in front of the speaker's chair to block the National Assembly's Vice Speaker Chung Eui-hwa from pushing for the procedure to handle a pending bill on ratification of a Korea-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) on November 22, in Seoul, South Korea.

Jo Yong-Hak / Reuters

Lawmaker Kim Seon-dong, center, struggles with security guards after he detonated the tear gas canister.

The AP reports from SEOUL, South Korea:

South Korea's parliament ratified a long-stalled free trade deal with the United States on Tuesday after ruling party lawmakers forced a vote amid shouts and shoves from opposition rivals.

YNA via EPA

Kim Seon-dong (out of frame) explodes a tear gas canister in front of the speaker's chair to block ratification of the agreement.

South Korean lawmakers voted 151 to 7 in favor of ratifying the landmark trade agreement in a surprise legislative session called by the ruling Grand National Party, parliamentary officials said.

Shouts filled the National Assembly as lawmakers pushed, shoved and screamed while ruling party lawmakers forced their way onto the parliamentary floor. One opposition lawmaker fired tear gas, reports said. Some lawmakers were seen wiping their eyes after being doused with the chemical.

Security guards later manhandled that opposition lawmaker out of the chamber as he shouted and tried to resist being thrown out. Opposition members also scuffled with police outside the National Assembly building as they tried to get inside to block the deal's passage.

The pact is America's biggest free-trade agreement since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Two-way trade between South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, and the United States totaled about $90 billion last year, according to the South Korean government.

Lawmakers have been wrangling over ratification of the free trade deal since U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama approved the deal last month after years of divisive debate in the U.S. Continue reading.

Ahn Yopung-Joon / AP

National Assembly Vice Speaker Chung Eui-hwa, second from top left, wearing glasses, declares the passage of a bill on ratification of a South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement amid shouts and shoves from opposition rivals.

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