Lack of Equilibrium by Police in Hotel Lotte FiascoIt was 10 a.m. on June 29 at Hotel Lotte, the very place where the International Press Center had gathered June 10 to 15 for the South-North summit, when ten hotel unionists were shocked to learn that some 1,100 of their co-workers had been taken into police custody after a strike that began June 9.
“How can they be so cruel? Was it necessary to use violence on us to control the situation?” However, there was no reply to the question put forth by a sobbing female unionist, whose colleagues had been detained virtually overnight.
Hotel Lotte employees had been demonstrating for the last twenty days, calling for the stabilization of their status as regular workers. It ended in smoke and debris after an early morning raid by police.
During and after the ambush, foreign guests who were staying at the 5-star hotel were quick to check-out. Dismayed and overwhelmed by the uproar, a Japanese guest said, “I just can’t believe police rushed into a first-class hotel during working hours.”
An hour later at Myongdong Catholic Church, 300 labor union members from Hotel Lotte gathered to denounce the government’s violent response.
“The government was powerless in tackling the recent 6-day strike by general medical practitioners and now they are venting their anger and frustration on helpless blue-collar workers. We are the victims,” said a unionist at the hotel.
One man who observed the disturbance pointed out, “Police should display an equilibrium in conducting their official affairs and be accountable to the priniciples of equity.” He added, “the government stays mute when they are confronted with ‘real’ issues and continue to provide no justification for their acts - the government should be the first sector to reform in our society.”
by Park Shin-hong