Jul. 03  2022
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Migrant worker activists protest arrests, crackdown

On September 2nd, immigration officials, accompanied by 30 policemen, raided two migrant houses in Masok and detained 13 migrant workers from Bangladesh, including Kabir and Mohammed.

Source  :  Base21

(Photo by Terry Park)

by Terry Park/Base21 Media Activist

Seoul, Korea--Around 50 members of the Equality Trade Union-Migrants' Branch (ETU-MB), university students, migrant workers, and symphathizers took part in a Saturday afternoon demonstration in front of the Seoul Immigration Office in Mokdong.

According ETU-MB president Lee Yung-Joo, their demands remain the same since the South Korean government launched a viscious, nation-wide crackdown on both "illegal" and legal migrant workers over two months ago--release ETU-MB leaders Kabir Uddin and Mohammed Bidduth, and immediately stop the crackdown.

Last week, the two Bangladeshi workers initiated a hunger-strike in protest of human rights violations inside the Hwasong Immigration Processing Center. Four more detainees from Nigeria, Kazakhstan, and China joined in solidarity.

This was a less confrontational protest than last weekend, when 50 riot police were called in to arrest 14 activists who were refused a visit with the director of the immigration office. They were released after a couple days.

Direct action groups from Suwon University, Donduk Womens University, and others brought large flags and colorful banners while ETU-MB officials and migrant workers denounced the crackdown, the shopfloor abuse under the oppressive trainee system that deprives migrant workers of basic labor rights and forces them to leave their autocratic employers. They also demanded full legalization and an end to their "illegal" status which subjects them to harsher penalties and deportation, though the recent crackdown has shown that the South Korean government will arrest legal workers as well.

"I am not a bad person. I work hard," said one migrant worker in a speech in Korean, as he raised his forefigner, the tip cut off from one of many labor accidents that occur as a result of "3-D" work--dangerous, dirty, and difficult jobs that Koreans are no longer willing to perform.

Popular people's musician Yun Young-suk also gave a short performance.

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