Class war update from G:
(as of late a.m. hours Monday morning, July 20, 2009; from translated reports from Korean-language open source news website OhMyNews, and the ChamNews website)
Company refused to allow food and medicine to “illegal strikers.” Representatives from Pyeongtaek court sent to factory to attempt to serve legal documents demanding the strikers leave the factory (see photos below).
Right now the strikers are in control of only the paint department; Ssangyong management turned off water and gas, but allowed the electricity to stay on. Since it’s Monday, they attempted to have non-striking workers and company loyalist thugs (“kasudae” in Korean) return to the factory to begin the process of resuming production in all other departments (with 2,500 of the regular workers who were not laid off). These scabs (“blacklegs” to some of you) can be seen entering the factory with protection from strikers’ slingshotted projectiles — which most often are bolts.
Photos below are factory occupiers defending the paint department with slingshots.
The police estimate that only 600 people are still occupying the factory, but the union estimates that there are still around 1,000.
***Update (right now in real time)***
The police are approaching the factory with armored vehicles. 3,000 riot cops have arrived by police buses; 2 cop helicopters are hovering overhead.
Blue-roofed movable structures are to prevent scabs from getting hit by projectiles at they enter the factory. The netting the police are holding in front of them is for the same purpose.
The paint department is the building in the background, with the red flags along the top. The strikers have issued a statement saying “we are ready to fight to the death, to live as real human beings.” They asked the scabs to honor the strike and stay out of the factory.
Also, the occupied paint department has 200,000 liters of thinner, paint, and other flammable liquids, making the situation incredibly dangerous should the cops use some kind of incendiary devices (as the police SWAT team did on January 20, 2009 when they attacked an occupied building in the Yongsan district of Seoul and killed 5 protesters and 1 cops in the ensuing fire, as part of the police attempt to suppress demonstrations against redevelopment and gentrification; see the libcom story: here).
Same view of the paint department, from a little further back.
Finally, at least 4 people have died during the strike. Two died from the stress of the layoffs that sparked the strike, that are thought to have been heart attacks. Another autoworker applied for voluntary early retirement, but committed suicide out of disgust. This morning, a union officials wife killed herself after Ssangyong company officials repeatedly visited her home and threatened her with financial damages due to the strike.