Apr. 14  2024
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Two weeks of manhunt, two weeks of occupation

Last developments in the migrant workers issue and the struggle against government셲 policy

Source  :  BASE21

Cultural Struggle Festival on the occupied area, Nov 28

by Christian / Base21 Media Activists

”The government assessed the round-up as a success. It reached its original goal of discovering approximately 1,300 illegal foreign workers and has achieved a sufficient visible outcome of ‘coercion effect’ so that the foreigners’ resident towns of Ansan, Gyoenggi, and Garibong-dong Guro-gu, Seoul have become somewhat inactive”, South Korean daily Dong-A Ilbo wrote Dec 1. “‘It was our original goal to give impressions that being illegal residents in Korea is difficult.’”, Dong-A Ilbo quoted Moon Hwa-jun, director at the Korean Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice said,

In one point, in his impudent words, he is right: many of the migrant workers here are very scared about government’s policy of manhunt and deportation, even more committed suicide. South Korean conservative newspapers reported proudly that the authorities arrested until Sunday, Nov 29, 1,473 migrant workers, 173 more than the “planned” 1,300. But it seems that this result is not enough for some here. While allegedly the authorities would only search for so-called “illegal” migrant workers in areas where bars and entertainment is located 쭯 ETU-MB (Equality Trade Union 쭯 Migrants’ Branch) has evidences that migrants were hunted also in their living quarters and around factories 쭯 “experts” are suggesting “The government has to demonstrate its strong will to round up and encourage voluntary exits. It also has to strengthen round-ups in the manufacturing industry.” according to Dong-A Ilbo. This means nothing else as a kind if declaration of war against migrant workers here.

But there is also another reality here, the reality of resistance against government’s policy.

Since more than two weeks 65 migrant workers and their Korean supporters are occupying Myeongdong Cathedral’s compound downtown of the South Korean capital Seoul. The coalition of ETU-MB, KCTU (Korean Confederation of Trade Unions), the Nepalese Struggle Alliance, Hanguk Migrant Worker's Human Rights Center, Incheon, and KASAMMAKO (Alliance of Filipino Migrant Organizations & Migrante Sectoral Party - Korea Chapter) wants to achieve on this way the end of manhunt and deportation, legalization of all migrant workers here and the release of all migrant workers out off detention centers, including Mohammad Bidduth and Jamal Ali, who were arrested on a demonstration October 26 in Seoul.

Still the will of struggle of the occupiers is unbroken, even on last Saturday 쭯 after a memorial rally for the migrants who committed suicide because of expected arrest and deportation 쭯 for the first time units of the infamous riot cops tried to block activities around the compound and tried to scare the activists. But at least the support of several students groups, unionists and several anarchists achieved the withdrawal of the cops.

The solidarity with the sit-in struggle collective in the South Korean society is increasing. But not only KCTU 쭯 last Friday they organized for the occupiers a Cultural Struggle Festival 쭯, student and political groups are supporting the struggle, also ordinary citizens are showing their solidarity, for example by giving donations.

But not only on the spot, also international the struggle finds increasing attention. Again in the Philippines protests were held. On Nov 25 in Makati City, nearby Manila, in front of the South Korean embassy more than 200 people demonstrated for the same demands ETU-MB and their allies, use here. There were protests also in Australia and articles in several Internet media in the UK, USA, in Germany, Austria, Japan, and even in South Africa.

And the struggle will continue, the occupiers promised, until the government meets their demands.

* Cultural Struggle Festival on the occupied area, Nov 28

*Memorial rally for the victims of government's policy, Nov 29

* Riot cops tried to attack the occupiers and their supporters, Nov 29

* KCTU rally and demonstration, the occupiers participated and the party after, Nov 30

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