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Published on Jan 20, 2014
On January 17th, 2014, the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee held a rally at the South Korean Consulate in San Francisco in defense of the Korean Rail Workers Union (KRWU). In retaliation, the South Korean Consulate, in cooperation with the US State Department, mobilized conservative Koreans and veterans from the North West Korean American Veterans Association to disrupt the rally.
The right-wing Koreans chanted "We Love Park Geun-hye", "Unions Suck", "Go Back to North Korea" and "Kill the Communists" and physically threatened a Korean union supporter. The Consulate also orchestrated media coverage from sympathetic journalists.
The KRWU waged the longest rail strike in South Korean history in December 2013 against a privatization drive by the right-wing government of Park Geun-hye. The Park government declared the strike illegal, put out arrest warrants for the union leadership and forced them into hiding.
On December 22nd, 2013, the Park government then assaulted the offices of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) with 5,000 police, who used tear gas and pepper spray on protesters. 120 unionists were arrested and the government succeeded in breaking the strike. Arrest warrants are still out for the union leadership and the government intends to continue with the privatization drive.
A General Strike has been called by the KCTU for February 25th. Another rally in support of Korean workers will take place in San Francisco at the Consulate on that same day.