KTU rally to protest ruling, Sewol probe handling

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KTU rally to protest ruling, Sewol probe handling

The Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU), the country’s largest liberal teachers’ union, is holding a rally today with members nationwide to protest the June 19 ruling that stripped the organization of its legal status.

The ruling, by the Seoul Administrative Court, came after the union refused to expel nine members who were dismissed from their schools.

“Many businesses’ labor unions have made it a rule to include dismissed workers,” KTU said yesterday in a press release. “The ruling denies all of those unions.”

“Protesting the ruling is to stop the spread of labor repression and to resuscitate democracy from going backward,” it added.

In the rally today, KTU plans to demand the government take responsibility for the April 16 Sewol ferry accident - which left nearly 300 people dead - and eliminate Kim Myung-soo, the nominee for education minister and deputy prime minister for education.

According to a press release, the rally will start at 2 p.m. with public relations activities across eight venues in Seoul, including Seoul Plaza and Gwanghwamun Plaza, to elaborate on the unfairness of the ruling and collect signatures to demand the tragedy be handled better. The union is also holding a yellow ribbon performance at 3 p.m. at Seoul Square to request the enactment of a special law to reveal the truth behind the accident. The yellow ribbon has become the symbol of mourning and prayer for the victims and their families.

Afterward, rally participants will gather for the main demonstration at 5 p.m. at Yeouido Park, in western Seoul. At the last event, which KTU estimated would draw a 7,000-strong crowd, the union will demand the government revise the teachers’ union act and give KTU back its legal status; establish a special law to reveal the truth behind the Sewol accident; withdraw Kim’s nomination and stop trying to use government-published history textbooks.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has drawn public attention after it reported to the prosecution 75 teachers who led the “early leave struggle.” On June 27, educators who oppose the court’s decision to strip KTU of its legal status left their schools early and staged a rally with about 1,000 people. The ministry insisted they violated their obligation to remain politically neutral.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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