South Korean police raid temple to arrest union boss

South Korean police raid Buddhist temple to arrest trade union boss who has taken refuge there

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

South Korean police stand guard outside the Jogye Temple in Seoul where Han Sang-Gyun, the head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, has sought sanctuary

In the South Korean capital Seoul, the police officers are raiding Jogye Buddhist Temple in order to arrest a trade union leader taking refuge there.

Han Sang-gyun, head of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions has been in the temple ever since the protest during which many clashed with police during a large protest in Seoul on November 14.

Monks warned the intrusion would be an assault of religious rights before the police pushed their way inside.

After the deadline was over to surrender, police raided the Jogye Temple and started an operation to arrest the trade union boss Han.

In November’s protest, the subjects that led people to protest ranged from President Park Geun-hye's business-friendly economic policies to a decision to force the nation's schools to use only books approved by the state.  

The clashes between police during the protests made the police use pepper spray and water cannon while some protesters acted armed with metal pipes and used sharpened bamboo sticks.

To demand an apology from the president, the police response prompted a smaller scale demonstration on Saturday with the participation of 14,000 people, rather than the 60,000 at November's rally.

According to polls, President Park labour market policies are popular with the general public.

However, she had drawn the frustration of labour unions and farmers as she was planning to make it easier through dismissing workers and capping the salaries of senior employees.

Seoul recently experiences a rising division between South Korea's right of centre government and its left-wing critics, who blame the government for reducing democracy.

TRTWorld and agencies