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`External Forces` Probed in Ssangyong Protest

Posted August. 12, 2009 08:37,   


Police yesterday arrested 33 unionized workers of Ssangyong Motor, including union leader Han Sang-kyun, for staging an illegal 77-day protest at the company’s plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

Prosecutors also began an investigation into alleged “external supporters” of the strike. A prosecutor said, “We’ve dealt with urgent matters until now, and will shift our focus to probing external forces.”

“Identifying which external forces were involved in the protests is important,” he said, hinting at targeting leftist organizations. “Instead of the Korea Metal Workers’ Union or student associations, we are focusing our attention on other groups.”

The Supreme Public Prosecutors` Office said Sunday that external forces served as a “control tower” for the sit-in protest, adding certain arrested union workers had previously been involved in illegal protests and left-leaning organizations.

Prosecutors reportedly obtained evidence of the involvement of external forces in the protest.

Police in Gyeonggi Province said an additional 54 persons are being investigated: 41 unionized workers and 13 external participants.

Another 16 Ssangyong employees who either clashed with union members or protesters are also under probe.

In connection with the protest, 303 union members and 322 external participants were arrested. Of them, 53 unionists and 11 participants were indicted.

More indictments are expected as police will reexamine 561 people who underwent initial investigation.