Clash likely over tent rally at Deoksu

Hundreds of unionists will put up tents at Deoksu Palace in central Seoul as an overnight protest against the district office’s removal of a tent and other facilities occupied by protesting dismissed Ssangyong Motor workers.

About 400 workers and members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) will gather in front of the palace Saturday afternoon to hold the protest, dubbed “Camping at Daehanmun” referring to the front gate of the palace. Unionists were asked to bring their own tents, lunch boxes and other necessary items.

The KCTU said it organized the event in solidarity with the dismissed Ssangyong workers and their families who were evicted from their protest site, which they had occupied for almost a year, by the Jung District Office nine days ago.

Whilst police say they have no intention of preventing the rally because the unionists have the required permit, they insist that setting up tents at the site will not be allowed, indicating the possibility of a clash if neither side backs down.

The Jung Office installed a flowerbed after removing the tents, along with a replica of a tower and other adornments.

Unionists have continued to stage a sit-in rally in front of the flowerbed since then.

Dismissed Ssangyong workers claimed that the district office’s removal of their facilities was a violation of their freedom of association.

But the district office said the protestors violated the law as their sit-in rallies infringed upon passersby’s right to freely walk around the area.

The Korea Times