Railway union workers hold massive rally in SeoulUpdated: 2013-12-20 AM 10:16:20 (KST)
At least 10-thousand angry unionized workers from the state-run Korea Railroad Corporation made speeches and chanted slogans as they gathered in front of Seoul Plaza near City Hall on Thursday.
Hundreds of police formed barricades around the plaza to prepare for any possible clashes, and thousands of ordinary citizens showed up in support of the rail workers.
On day 11 of the longest railway strike in Korea's history, rail workers from all over the nation gathered to protest the goverment's move to establish a new rail operator which they claim as being a first step toward privatization.
"The government is not providing any answers to our requests not to privatize KORAIL. Instead they are just cracking down on our massive rallies, saying they are illegal. We are out here again to protest against President Park Geun-hye. We're asking her to stick to her pledges."
The massive strike comes as police raided four regional headquarters of Korea's Railway Workers' Union on Thursday with court-issued warrants.
The police also said they arrested two of the 25 strike leaders on for whom the court had issued arrest warrants.
The state-owned KORAIL gave an ultimatum to return to work by Thursday, and so far at least 9-hundred-90 workers have returned.
The strike has crippled railway services nationwide, hitting cargo train services the hardest.
Freight rail operations are running at 39 percent their normal levels and long-distance KORAIL services at 56 percent and 61 percent respectively.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.
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