[Statement] Violent Suppression of Ssangyong Motors Workers: A Declaration of War on Its Own People
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                    5th, August

In the morning of August 5th, the police started its raid to forcefully break the strike at Ssangyong Motors Pyeongtaek Plant, literally turning the factory into a war zone. The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) strongly condemns the insane police raid that can bring deaths, and demands the immediate withdrawal of police forces. The police operation is taking place in collaboration with company goons, without any consideration for human lives or safety measures.

Containers hanging from cranes, water cannons, teargas concentrate, taser guns, to name a few, have been mobilized, and during the process of the raid, two workers fell from the roof of the assembly line building and were seriously injured. One of the workers broke his 3rd and 4th vertebrae. 23 workers were arrested and 7 of them are undergoing treatment in the hospital for various injuries.

The police beat workers collectively, even those who had given up resisting, before arresting them. Workers who were in dire need of medical treatment were neglected for more than an hour. Fires broke out in several places nearby the paintshop building, which houses a large amount of inflammable chemicals and is thus extremely dangerous, however, the police were too busy beating the workers to quickly put out the soaring flames. The police have turned into a private militia that follows orders of the management and its puppet goons, and tramples upon human lives.

The company goons, armed with metal pipes, wooden sticks, huge slingshots, molotov cocktails and other lethal weapons, showed no remorse when violently beating down on people in and outside the factory. The encampment tents set up in front of the factory by civil society activists, political parties and religious groups were completely demolished by the metal pipes swung relentlessly by these goons. Many of these goons were smirking in the process – enough to sense murderous intentions. As previously experience, the police merely stood aside and watched the criminal acts of these goons.

The police raid is in complete contradiction to the earnest yearning of Ssangyong workers, their family members, labour/human rights/religious/civic organization members for a peaceful solution to the Ssangyong crisis. Unions and civic organizations have repetitiously warned that if police raids into the paintshop 2 building, where the striking workers have locked themselves in together with tons of inflammable material, there can be a catastrophe incomparable to the Yongsan Massacre, during which 5 evictees were burnt to death.

The KCTU considers the forced suppression of Ssangyong Motors workers as a declaration of war by the government on its own people including the working class. We sternly announce that we will implement even stronger, full-fledged struggles against the Lee Myung Bak government. President Lee Myung Bak, who seems to have given up his role as a head of state, should realize that the pain, anger and sadness that Ssangyong Motors workers felt today will be avenged on him.
 
5th August 2009
 
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU)
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