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May. 21  2018
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KCTU remains adamantly opposed to war, vows to continue struggle

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) has been deeply involved in the rise of the anti-war, anti-deployment of Korean troops struggle during the past several weeks.

Source  :  KCTU

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions(KCTU) has been deeply involved in the rise of the anti-war, anti-deployment of Korean troops struggle during the past several weeks. As part of the “Common Action Against War and for Peace,” a coalition of about 700 organizations from across the country, the KCTU has actively organized and participated in the many demonstrations, rallies, and press conferences that have taken place ever since the U.S. announced its intent to invade Iraq. The KCTU has also taken independent measures, dispatching a labor delegation to the Middle East the past month in an effort to urge a more active international response from trade unions across the world. It has also carried out various campaigns internally, educating members on the war and holding discussions and rallies by region. Members of the teachers union have held peace discussion sessions in classes across the country.



Actions have become more intense, frequent, and diverse since the outbreak of the war. Candlelight vigils have been held, Iraqi Peace Team members have continued their activities in Iraq, university students have refused classes, leaders of various religions have denounced the war, and violent clashes with riot police have all taken place after the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. Recent struggles within the nation have focused on blocking the passing of a ‘troop bill’ that would send 700 Korean military personnel to support the U.S. and U.K. troops in Iraq. The newly elected Roh Moo-Hyun government has tried to convince the public of the strategic importance of supporting the US and strengthening the U.S.-Korea alliance at a time when the North Korean Nuclear crisis looms near. However, polls have consistently shown that 70 to 80% of the Korean people oppose the war in Iraq, and actions to stop the proposal from passing the assembly were met with fierce resistance. Protestors camped out of the Assembly building leading up to the vote, the KCTU called on its members for an all-night rally at the site, while union taxi drivers surrounded the assembly honking their horns. Activists clashed with riot police when they attempted to enter the grounds, and the few succeeded were dragged out. Strong anti-war sentiments among the public and the actions outside the compounds were able to force members of the National Assembly to delay the vote on deployment of troops to Iraq twice, on the 25th, and the 28th. However, the Assembly reconvened and finally passed the bill on the 2nd of April. Demonstrators who had been protesting outside of the Assembly building vehemently decried the decision and have vowed to continue the struggle against the war through other means.



In the ensuing days, more universities are expected to close down and the KCTU has announced that it will raise the level of struggle and devote the whole month of April to the anti-war effort. Major rallies will be held on the 6th, 12th of the month, and plans have also been drawn up for an international May Day rally against the war. Coalitions of Civic organizations have announced plans to organize activities to thwart the reelection of lawmakers who had supported the bill during the general elections, which are scheduled for April of next year. Contrary to the expectations of the Roh government, the passing of the bill has not led to the quelling of anti-war or anti-government sentiments and actions, but is instead spawning a wider resistance, based on a commitment to the principle of peace, outrage at the injustice and illegitimacy of U.S. actions(in Iraq as well as on the peninsula), and disillusionment with the democratic principles of the current political structure that failed to reflect the will of the vast majority of the people. Already citizens are voicing opinions that this action signifies the “death of the Roh government.” The struggle continues.
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