SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - About 700 activists burned an American flag and demanded the U.S. military leave South Korea after two U.S. soldiers were acquitted of negligent homicide charges in a traffic accident that killed two Korean girls.
"Let's drive out American troops!" the protesters chanted, shaking fists in front of the Korean War Museum in central Seoul.
Shoving matches erupted when riot police blocked the demonstrators from marching on the nearby U.S. military base. No injuries or arrests were reported.
In two separate U.S. military trials earlier this week, Sgt. Fernando Nino and Sgt. Mark Walker were acquitted of negligent homicide charges in the deaths of two 13-year-old school girls that their armored vehicle hit and killed on June 13.
Walker is from Acworth, Ga. Nino's hometown has not been released. Both are soldiers in the 2nd U.S. Infantry Division.
The acquittals prompted an outcry from South Korean activists, who called the trials a sham.
The U.S. military appealed to South Koreans to trust the judgment of the military panels and offered an "apology and deepest sympathies" to the victims' families.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday that it was not completely happy with the verdicts, but warned against using them to stoke anti-American sentiment.
Saturday's protesters, including 150 high school students, demanded that the American soldiers be retried in a South Korean court.
The U.S. military has jurisdiction over its soldiers accused of crimes while on duty. There are 37,000 American soldiers based in South Korea.
Walker and Nino were on a training mission near the border with North Korea when their mine-clearing vehicle struck Shim Mi-son and Shin Hyo-sun.
South Korean political parties have called for revision of a U.S.-South Korean military accord to grant South Korea more jurisdiction in cases involving U.S. soldiers.
Dipsh1t protesters burn an American flag during an anti-U.S. rally near the Yongsan U.S. Army Base in Seoul, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2002.
An ungrateful South Korean moron prepares to throw eggs toward the U.S. Army Camp Casey during an anti-U.S. rally in Dongducheon, north of Seoul, Friday, Nov. 22, 2002.