Corea, República de - Korean metalworkers protest dispersed by riot police (2011)

On 21 October 2010, the Korea Electronics (KEC) factory local union branch of the Korean Metal Workers Union (KMWU) began a sit-in to protest lay-offs and union repression. However, the company as well as local authorities and the government mobilised 1,000 riot police to contain the protest. The police prevented solidarity groups from bringing food and first-aid to the factory and deployed water cannons to harass the workers. Five union members were seriously injured when a police helicopter flew over them at low altitude. Kim Joon-il, the president of the regional branch of KMWU, was faced with police hoping to arrest him when he turned up to the place the company had said was the negotiation venue. He then set himself on fire in protest and was later taken to hospital in a serious condition.

On 3 November, the company promised to resume negotiations, and workers suspended their action. However, by the end of the year no negotiation session had taken place and instead four union members were detained.

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