Yesterday (Monday, July 27, 2009) evening at 6:30, taking 40 minutes, around 3,000 police (out of a total of 9,000 cops surrounding the factory) and the fire department conducted a coordinated drill to simulate a "safe" retaking of the factory. But in the process, cops inched closer to the factory, securing positions within 30 meters of the paint department. A SWAT team of 50 cops also participated.
***Update Tuesday, July 28, 2009***
The latest report from strike supporters say there are 785 workers in the factory, made up of both those regular workers who are being laid off as well as casualized workers who joined the struggle in solidarity.
Official document showing police coordination with hired thugs and scabs to retake the factory:
Members of the Korean Democratic Labor Party (KDLP) came in the morning to support the factory occupation, bringing water for the strikers. In approaching the factory gates, they scuffled with Ssangyong employees. In solidarity, they are conducting a sit-in at the factory gates until the water is delivered to the strikers occupying the factory.
Water bottles scattered by company goons:
The strikers in the factory have continued to demand a non-militarized area in the factory to resume the promised negotiations. Management has not responded; the company continues to be under court receivership, because of the litigation of its creditors. Because of the court's authority over the situation, management is able to use this as an excuse to refuse negotiations. The Korean state and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), which owns 51% of the company, while being responsible for resolution also refuse to treat it as a labor dispute.
***Monday, July 27, Report***
Coordinated drill of cops and fire department:
As part of the drill, 2 helicopters poured large amounts of liquid teargas on the roof of the factory:
Pigs securing positions closer to the occupied factory:
Water canon truck at front of assault sprays water as part of drill:
Cops behind portable shield structures get closer to striker barricade blocking passage between factory buildings:
After drill finished, family members shout encouragement to strikers:
The strikers also stated that they are not returning slingshot fire coming from the non-striking workers who are company loyalists ("kasudae"), many of whom are in offensive positions on roofs near the paint department. They refused to attack them back because they are also workers, however much they hate them as scabs and betrayers.
The International Labor Organization formally requested that the South Korean government stop the police violence and enter into negotiations for a peaceable settlement of the dispute. The government labor minister has stated that the factory occupiers are not fighting for their jobs or workers rights, but are instead engaged in a battle to further their "political ideology." This is typical of the state's demonization of strikers as being manipulated by subversive elements not involved in the Ssangyong situation.