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South Korea activists protest labour policies, get in touch with for Park’s apology

Posted December 05, 2015 23:17:55

Protesters at a rally in South Korea Photo: Protesters at an anti-government rally in central Seoul. The the sign in centre reads: “listen to people’s voice”. (Reuters: Kim Hong-Ji)

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have marched by means of downtown Seoul, demanding that South Korean president Park Geun-hye apologise for cracking down on a protest last month when farm and labour activists clashed with police.

An estimated crowd of 30,000 individuals, a lot of of them wearing masks in defiance of Ms Park’s call for a ban on mask-wearing during protests.

They marched by way of the city centre behind a banner reading “Resign Park Geun-Hye”, chanting slogans.

Saturday’s rally in the capital drew around 14,000 men and women, according to police estimates, far fewer than the 60,000 that attended the rally on November 14.

It went ahead following a court rejected the government’s request for an injunction produced in the aftermath of the violent scenes at the earlier demonstration, which had been organised by some of the country’s most militant activist groups to protest against Ms Park’s labour marketplace and education policies.

External Hyperlink: Video shows protesters in downtown Seoul calling for president Park Geun-hye to apologise

Ms Park’s conservative government plans to make it achievable for employers to dismiss workers based on functionality and to cap the salaries of senior staff in order to encourage employers to hire younger people and ease youth unemployment.

Activists had been also protesting against Ms Park’s choice to replace privately published college history textbooks with government versions, a move they say is an try to whitewash military dictators’ oppression of democracy and human rights in South Korea till the mid-1980s.

Charges were laid against dozens of men and women in the wake of the rally last month, which saw riot police use water cannon and pepper spray soon after some protesters attacked police with metal pipes and sharpened bamboo sticks.

An arrest warrant has been issued against the head of the militant Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), who has taken sanctuary in a Buddhist temple in Seoul, from where, on Saturday, he repeated a get in touch with for a common strike.

“What is our demand? Cease the move to worsen labour circumstances that only fattens capitalists,” KCTU chief Han Sang-gyun stated in his video message to the rally.

KCTU has regularly issued calls for a common strike in current years but the only considerable action taken has been rotating function stoppages at locations exactly where unionised labour is extremely organised.

There is broad public assistance for Ms Park’s labour policy.

A Gallup poll released in September of 1,002 respondents showed more than 70 per cent support for the plan to make firing less complicated and to cap greater income earners’ salaries.

Reuters/AFP

Topics: activism-and-lobbying, world-politics, government-and-politics, korea-republic-of

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