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Protestors Who Used Bamboo Batons to Face Arrest

Posted May. 19, 2009 08:27,   


The government yesterday threatened stern action against violent strikes staged in Daejeon Saturday by the progressive Korea Confederation of Trade Union and the Korean Cargo Workers’ Union.

The Justice Ministry and the Supreme Public Prosecutors’ Office said they will seek arrest warrants for all violent demonstrators who beat people with bamboo batons or used violent force.

Noh Hwan-gyun, the head of the public security department at the prosecutors’ office, held a news conference yesterday at the headquarters in southern Seoul.

“Attempts to get their demands accepted through illegal acts and violence jeopardizes the fundamental value of democracy,” he said.

Prosecutors will also seek arrest warrants for those who used bamboo batons or violent force and those with a history of using violence in demonstrations.

Noh said, “In last weekend’s violent protests, some 7,000 demonstrators wielded 1,000 bamboo batons and injured 104 riot guards and damaged 99 police vehicles and 155 pieces of police equipment.”

“We will trace those not arrested at the scene and arrest them, and identify those behind the violent demonstrations without fail.”

Saying strikes staged by the cargo workers’ union, which is not a legal entity, as a collective denial of transport rather than a strike, prosecutors are considering obstruction of justice charges against freight owners of the striking truckers.

Daejeon police have sought arrest warrants for 32 who allegedly used violence against police of the 457 arrested at the site of the demonstration. Also booked without physical detention were the remaining 249.

Labor Minister Lee Young-hee told a news briefing at the Government Complex in Gwacheon yesterday, “The government will no longer be lenient on such illegal acts.”

“Though the cargo workers’ union might be considered an economic group and can be negotiated with, I must reject the demand that their basic labor rights be guaranteed.”

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