Civic, labor groups tell of G-20 rallies

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Civic, labor groups tell of G-20 rallies


Kim Young-hoon, second from left, chairman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, and Heo Young-koo, second from right, co-chairman of SpecWatch Korea, display signs yesterday with other organization members during a press conference about the G-20 Summit. Korean civic and labor groups plan to hold rallies protesting the summit. The sign second from left reads: “Against shifting responsibility for the global economic crisis onto the people.” [REUTERS/YONHAP]

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions announced yesterday that it will kick off a series of demonstrations against the G-20 Summit starting tomorrow, adding more tension to the Korean government’s efforts to completely block demonstrations and terror attempts during the summit, which is slated for Nov. 11-12.

The union and other liberal civic organizations created a united confederation - the Korean People’s G20 Response Action - to condemn the G-20 for “not being able to adopt effective financial regulations and for being unable to agree on measures such as a bank levy and a financial transaction tax.

“As the chair of the G-20 Summit, the Lee Myung-bak administration has declared that ‘poverty and development issues’ will be the main items on the agenda,” the Korean People’s G-20 Response Action said in a press conference yesterday. “The Korean government’s initiative focuses only on ‘economic growth,’ while values such as democracy, human rights, the environment and gender equality have been sidelined. We can only wonder whether the government’s initiative will bring sustainable and balanced development to developing countries.”

The Response Action group designated Nov. 6-12 as its rally period in an effort to criticize what they say is the negative impact of the G-20.

Among the rallies to be held is a national laborer’s convention at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Seoul Plaza, where the group will demand that the government improve fundamental labor rights.

The group also plans to hold a candlelight vigil at Bosingak Pavilion on Nov. 11, the first day of the summit, at Coex center in southern Seoul.

A special law on G-20 security went into effect on Nov. 1 and all rallies and demonstrations within a 2-kilometer (1.24 mile) radius of the summit venue are banned from Nov. 8-12.

“Police will permit registered rallies, but it will react sternly to unregistered and illegal rallies, in accordance with the law,” a police official said.

The National Police Agency announced yesterday that the security alert will be raised to the highest level from today until Nov. 13. More than 50,000 police officers will be mobilized for the summit.

By Kim Mi-ju []
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