G-20 Protests in South Korea

*Protestors shouted slogans, opposing the upcoming G20 meeting in Seoul.

By Ekaterina Volozova

Beijing, (October 22, 2010, M4relay)– Protesters shouted slogans, opposing the upcoming G20 summit in Seoul as they gathered on Thursday to denounce the security measures taken by the police in view of the November 11-12 meeting claiming that the measures are over excessive and will disrupt daily lives of shopkeepers in the area of the meeting. It is estimated that over 10,000 people will participate in other protests during the two-day summit, according to the Korea Times.

A number of civic groups as well as well-known activists have registered to hold rallies on November 11 and 12. Some of the most progressive groups of G20 opposition will be participating. This includes major groups like the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KTCU). According to the groups’ newsletter, “KCTU will declare November 6 to 12 as a Peoples’ Week of Collective Action, with various social movements and NGOs, ahead of G20 Seoul Summit”. The KCTU claims that the “Lee Myeong-bak administration is using the upcoming Summit as an excuse to strengthen repression of common people and social movements in South Korea”. In the union’s newsletter, they urge people to take part in rallies in front of consulates and embassies, engage in press conferences and other forms of activity. The organization claims that because of the G20 summit, migrants, street vendors and homeless people are being discriminated. They want to stop labor repression. “As a part of global movement for building people’s alternatives for the failed neoliberal globalization, KCTU will stand up for people’s rights and real solution of the crisis”. KTCU also plans to hold a variety of events with international labor organizations.

On November 11, Brazilian and South African labor organizations also plan to have a “Labor Assembly” to listen to voices of workers from around the world. Some of the other major groups that will take part in the protests are People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the International Trade Union Confederation. The ITUC plans to hold a meeting for labor union leaders to encourage those that come from G20 countries to pay more attention to labor and social issues.

The South Korean government has placed all the security forces on high alert not only because of the rallies, but also because of concerns from possible terrorist attacks.

Security has been set up around subway stations and other points were crowds could gather. Protests are prohibited within a 2-km (1.2 miles) security zone of the main venue, reported Reuters.

Protesters are in a way, opposing globalization. With their actions they seem to try to prove that the G20 summit is not helping them, and they are looking for new ways to improve their lives as they need alternatives to exit the recession.

The financial crisis has hit hard all over the globe, but the way it is looked at can be different in every country. In Korea’s case, due to the historical situation and social background, it is causing people to react the way they are, and causing many people to protest.

* Ekaterina Volozova is an international reporter at M4 Media

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