South Korean trade union head arrested over protests violating Covid rules

Seoul, Sep 2 (EFE).- South Korean police on Thursday arrested the head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) for organizing large-scale demonstrations in Seoul in violation of health regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Yang Kyung-soo was arrested at the KCTU headquarters in Seoul on charges of violating the Assembly and Demonstration Act and the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act, as well as for causing traffic disruptions.

Yang’s arrest comes more than two weeks after a court in the capital issued an arrest warrant against him for organizing protests between May and July.

The last demonstration on July 3 brought together around 8,000 people in downtown Seoul.

South Korean authorities have banned large-scale demonstrations since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the country, where only around 30 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, gatherings of more than four people are banned, along with gatherings of more than two from 6 pm in areas with the highest incidence of cases.

Police tried to arrest Yang on Aug. 18 but were unable to do so as KCTU members blocked the entrance to the organization’s headquarters.

Thursday’s arrest met with little resistance and transpired without a serious clash between the police and KCTU members, local news agency Yonhap reported.

The KCTU later issued a statement calling the arrest “a declaration of war (against the union) by the Moon Jae-in government” and said it would get “payback” by “staging a strong strike.”

The organization has called a general strike on Oct. 20 to demand improvements in workers’ rights and hopes that all of its 1.1 million members in the country participate. EFE


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