Nov 14, 2021 09:14 UTC

Tens of thousands of workers belonging to South Korea’s largest umbrella labor union rallied on the streets of downtown Seoul, defying a city government ban on their gathering.

At the rally location in 1970, 22-year-old Chun Tae-il burned himself to death to protest against the terrible working conditions he endured. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit those in the service sector particularly hard, with layoffs and reductions in hours. 

According to Press TV, demonstrators also protested the gap between regular and irregular workers, and a growing disparity between have and have-nots. South Korean truckers and railway workers have been threatening walkouts recently, with Hyundai union workers voting to strike Friday. 

South Koreans will be heading to the polls to elect a new president in five months. The main candidates have been decided, and now political forces, like these unionists here today, have begun the battle to place their interests on the campaign agenda.