Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 13:38 UK

In pictures: Monks protest

Some 60,000 protesters, including gray-robed Buddhist monks mass at City Hall

An estimated 60,000 South Koreans, including 7,000 monks, gathered at City Hall in Seoul to protest against what they say is a pro-Christian bias in President Lee Myung-bak's government.

Monks in straw hats form disciplined ranks in the mass protest

Buddhists are angry at what they see as a predominance of Christian appointees in the government and a series of recent incidents they say express an anti-Buddhist approach by the authorities.

Long lines of monks march under watching police

Monks marched to Jogye Temple, home to the Jogye Order. Eight civic activists have been staying there since rallies earlier this year against Mr Lee's decision to open South Korea to US beef imports.

A monk holds a red and white banner calling for a presidential apology

The protesters want Mr Lee to apologise for alleged transgressions against Buddhism, and to fire his police chief. They are particularly upset by a recent check of top monk Jigwan's car.

Protester holds up caricature picture of President Lee

Mr Lee, a Presbyterian, has faced a long run of protests since his government came to power in February. Intense anger fuelled by his approval of US beef imports caused his popularity to plummet.

Brown and gray-robed monks bow heads in prayer at large protests

Religious tolerance is prized in South Korea. Buddhism is the oldest religion but officials say Christians make up about 29% of the population compared to the Buddhists' 23%.

Thousands in S Korea beef protest
05 Jul 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: South Korea
07 Aug 08 |  Country profiles
Country profile: South Korea
07 Aug 08 |  Country profiles

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