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S. Korea, Migrant Workers...

by KCTU/ETU-MB Saturday, Jul. 17, 2004 at 5:46 AM

...struggle, now the 245th day, continues. Latest report


First of all the S. Korean government announced yesterday that they want to increase the crackdown against “illegal” migrant workers. Korea Times (7.16) reported that Ministry of “Justice” (Mo”J”) announced that they also want to punish more employers who employes “illegal” migrant workers. According to Korea Times “Justice” Minister Justice Kang Kum-sil said at a press conference: ``Those who hire over 10 illegal migrant workers or who broker their employment will get heavy criminal charges and be banned from hiring foreign workers in the future,’’ Korea Times continued in the case of migrant workers: “About 640 government officials and police officers will stage massive street campaigns on July 19-23 and August 2-6. (THIS IS NOTHING ELSE THAN STIR UP RACIST HATRED!) The police and the prosecution will also jointly conduct crackdowns.” But the Mo”J” also had to report about the failure of their policy of massive crackdown. The end of last year’s number of “illegal” migrant workers was about 120.000, now the number, in spite of massive man-hunt and deportation, is by 166.000.

Even the migrant workers are scared they just don’t follow the order to leave voluntarily the country. So if the government will continue like that and the number of “illegal” migrant workers will not change - the number is increasing by 5,000 every month and it is expected to be more than 200,000 in the end of this year – the government complete will “lose his face”. Possibly not really funny in a society such as the Korean?! But anyway, migrant workers activists, especially the members of MSSC will not give up their struggle. NO WAY!! ON THE END S. KOREAN GOVERNMENT WILL GET THEIR OWN WATERLOO!* While the struggle of MSSC is continuing – right now more in the regions where migrant workers use to life and work, such as the industrial areas in Seoul or in Gyeonggi-do (province) – the protest in front of National Assembly, so called “One Man Rally” is continuing day by day. Even, especially if it is hard raining and stormy wind, such as yesterday (this day actually really just “one Man Rally”, usually they are at least two protesters), some times very interesting and some times funny things were going on there. The definite highlight of this week: the anti-migrant workers rally. On Tuesday, July 13, one of the (mainly) regular “One Man Rally” protesters arrived in DLP’s head quarter on Yeouido (here they have the equipment for the rally). Opposite of the building a rally was held. But because the activist couldn’t see well (some times his glasses were broken by someone) he had to go closer to see the writings on the pickets. But he was not able to read, so he had to go closer but on this way he already was able to hear about the issue by the slogans: a rally against supporting “illegal foreigners”. So, because he wore already ETU-MB’s struggle vest, he retired himself. But just moments later some of the 25 or so “protesters” realized him and immediately some wanted – yeah, what actually wanted from him? Anyway in this moment his comrade, who is the (nearly) daily rally partner arrived and pushed him in the DLP building in safety. Later in the afternoon the garbage cans went to Myeongdong to hang around there – directly in front of the struggle site and to irritate the striking activists there (a Korean report and many replys you can read here). Around one hundred cops, usually their job it is to hunt the activists, had to protect them. Or possibly just the sacred area of the cathedral?! Anyway, it seems that this “protesters” are just paid by immigration officers to do so. They said that they are “progressive” activists of poor people (“their” homepage you can see here), got unemployed because of migrant workers, took away their jobs, but it is not to believe, because the real activists of the poor are already in SOLIDARITY with migrant workers' struggle. Yesterday in front of Mokdong’s Immigration Office members of ETU and solidarity activists held a rally against man-hunt, mass deportation and EPS – for to support migrant workers struggle. Around 20 people joined. One very bad news: On Wednesday morning in Yongin/Suwon the cops arrested 52 construction workers union activists (some of them were long time aside migrant workers in sit-in strike in Myeong-dong), just preparing for a rally. One of them, Kim Ho-jung, like 5 others, will be brought on trial and face long imprisonment. Protest against it! Today 6pm in front of Ansan central police office, in the night to Friday fights already erupted there (more in Korean you can read here and here). News and the background - in Korean - you can get here).
*Waterloo is the place where Napoleon troops got their crushing defeat in 1815. So there is now a proverb, if someone will lose complete he/she will get his/her own Waterloo.

Here some impressions from yesterday's rally in Mokdong


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