Date: Mon, 24 Nov 97 10:31:18 CST
From: Arm The Spirit <>
Subject: Workers And Students Rally In Seoul
Article: 22600

Workers And Students Rally In Seoul

Arm The Spirit, 24 November 1997

Around 20,000 workers and left-wing student activists rallied in Seoul on Sunday, November 9, 1997, to celebrate Labor Day, a commemoration of Jon Thae Il, a symbol for the present day militant labor movement in Korea, a worker from the Pyung Hwa Market Garment Company who immolated himself to protest exploitation and oppression on November 13, 1970. Members of various trade unions, grouped together in the outlawed Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), were joined by student groups from several Korean universities in a three-hour rally in Yoido in Seoul, not far from Korea’s National Assembly building. Although the KCTU is still considered to be an illegal organization in Korea, riot police did not disrupt the rally.

Among the many speakers at the rally was KCTU chairman Kwon Yong Gil, who is running a symbolic campaign for the December 18th presidential elections on behalf of the new leftist political grouping People’s Victory 21. The KCTU has been openly calling for its members to vote for Kwon Yong Gil, and many student groups have taken up the campaign as well. However, a few days after the rally in Yoido, Korean prosecutors filed charges against four labor activists who publicly drummed up support for Kwon Yong Gil at the rally. Korean election laws ban social and labor organizations from publicly supporting or opposing any particular candidate. The four activists being charged include KCTU vice chairman Pae Sok-bom