South Korean police detain union boss over violent protests

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - After a prolonged standoff, South Korean police on Thursday detained a labour union official for his alleged involvement in organizing anti-government protests that turned violent last month.

See Full Article

In a massive show of force, more than 2,000 uniformed police officers surrounded a Buddhist temple where Korean Confederation of Trade Unions President Han Sang-gyun had been holed up for nearly a month.

The swarm of police, which cut off streets around the stately Jogyesa Temple in downtown Seoul, has become a common sight as thousands have gathered in recent months to protest what they see as worsening labour conditions and an attack on personal and political freedoms by conservative President Park Geun-hye.

Led by a senior monk, Han walked out of the temple flanked by dozens of labour union members and temple followers who created a path for him by linking their hands. The temple has long provided refuge for political dissidents trying to avoid arrest.

"Let's destroy the attempts to worsen labour laws," an emotional Han shouted, shortly before he stepped outside the temple's main gate and was handcuffed by police officers who took him away. He called for a general strike starting Wednesday. Another large general demonstration against the president is planned for Dec. 19.

Anti-government forces are protesting the president's proposal to rewrite labour laws so companies would have more freedom to fire workers and replace them with temporary employees, although policymakers say such changes would be critical for improving a bleak job market for young people. Critics also raise concerns over what they see as Park's unwillingness to tolerate dissent.

Park's government has cracked down on press freedoms and been criticized for incompetence in the aftermath of a ferry sinking that killed more than 300. There is widespread resistance to the government's decision to require middle and high schools to use only state-issued history textbooks starting in 2017, which critics see as an attempt to whitewash the dictatorships that preceded South Korea's bloody transition toward democracy in the 1980s.

Police plan to soon request a formal arrest warrant for Han who could face charges including obstruction of justice and illegal assembly for his alleged involvement in nine different anti-government protests this year, including a massive demonstration in November that left dozens of people injured.

Police may also push for a rarely used sedition charge against Han for his involvement in a Nov. 14 protest that turned violent, said an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, who didn't want to be named, citing office rules.

The KCTU labour union defined Han's detainment as labour repression. KCTU spokesman Park Sung-shik could not immediately confirm how many workers would participate in the Dec. 16 general strike.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Man drives off cliff hours after girfriend's suicide in same spot

    World News Toronto Sun
    SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A man attempted suicide by driving off a winding Southern California mountain road hours after his girlfriend killed herself in the same manner at the same spot, authorities said Thursday. Investigators determined the two vehicles that went over the side of State Route 18 in San Bernardino County last weekend were related suicide attempts — one of them successful, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Juan Quintero. Source
  • Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg defriends diner staff

    World News Toronto Sun
    Facebook’s petulant plutocrat Mark Zuckerberg boasted he was going to “talk to more people” in 2017 – then barred the staff at an Alabama diner from speaking to him. Zuckerberg, 34, had promised he was going to visit all 50 states and get their input about the future. Source
  • Plastic surgery Ken ditches newly brunette Barbie [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Brunette Barbie has been kicked to the curb. Quentin Dehar — who has spent $150,000 on plastic surgery to look like Ken — has ditched his Barbie lookalike gal pal because she dyed her hair brown. Dehar, 24, who lives in France, said he thought the silicon-craving couple were made for each other when they met in 2013 and that Anastasia Reskoss was “the one. Source
  • Millennials too distracted for dogs: Cesar Millan

    World News Toronto Sun
    Much-maligned millennials are now getting a ruff ride from dog whisperer Cesar Millan. The “dog whisperer” barked to the Daily Mail that the me, me, me generation are so distracted by technology, selfish and hampered by their inability to pay attention to other humans, canine ownership would be a disaster. Source
  • Mom catches cannibal eating boy, 7

    World News Toronto Sun
    A twisted cannibal was caught by his mortified mother eating a seven-year-old boy he had butchered. Nazim Miyan’s mom told cops she found her blood-soaked son next to the boy’s body in an abandoned home in India’s Uttar Pradesh. Source
  • Rare baby bongo antelope makes debut at Los Angeles Zoo

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES - A rare baby bongo has made its debut at the Los Angeles Zoo. The unnamed male Eastern bongo was born at the zoo on Jan. 20. It spent time bonding with its mother behind the scenes before being introduced to the public Thursday. Source
  • Tourist allegedly gang-raped by asylum-seeking family

    World News Toronto Sun
    A German tourist who was allegedly gang-raped for hours by nine asylum seekers from the same family has shocked Austrians and riveted the country. The nine accused are on trial in Vienna in the New Year’s Eve 2015 gang rape of the 28-year-old victim. Source
  • John Kelly: U.S. won't use military to enforce immigration laws

    World News Toronto Sun
    MEXICO CITY - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly pledged Thursday that America won’t enlist its military to enforce immigration laws and that there will be “no mass deportations.” The declarations came as senior Trump administration officials sought to temper Latin American concerns about a new U.S. Source
  • Man spat in face of toddler because ‘white people should not breed’

    World News Toronto Sun
    A British man was spared jail after he spat in the face of a toddler and told the baby's mother, "white people should not breed." Rebecca Telford was out shopping in South Shields last January with her nine-month-old daughter, Layla Jean, when Rezzas Abdulla leaned into her stroller and spat, according to Metro U.K. Source
  • New Jersey school's Black History Month menu fried for being 'offensive'

    World News Toronto Sun
    A New Jersey school lunch menu meant to be "in celebration of Black History Month" backfired when the lunch items were deemed "offensive," according to NJ.com. The Feb. 16 menu at Hopewell Valley Central High School included fried chicken, cornbread, sweet potato casserole, sauteed spinach, macaroni and cheese, and peach or apple crisp. Source