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Saturday, October 8, 2011


Aaron and I had just come back from Seomyeon and were walking up the subway steps in Nampodong to walk across the bridge to Yeongdo Island when we were faced with hundreds of riot police, dressed head to toe in riot gear!  Talk about exciting!   If I had to guess, I'd say there were between 500 and 1,000.

We knew why they were there.  Hanjin Shipping Company's employees were protesting... AGAIN. The company is located on the island where I live and the employees gather at least once every two months to march across the main bridge, and all the way to the front of the shipyard, to protest the company's unfair labor practices and the recent layoff of over 600 Korean employees after the CEO decided to move part of the company to a new shipyard in the Phillippines in order to save on labor costs, regarless of the almost 1 billion in earnings made that year.  In addition, a lot of Koreans have joined the protest for the sole purpose of  encouraging a 52 year old female who climbed atop one of Hanjin's cranes (105 feet high) and has been living up there, in a 6x10 foot control room, for over 260 days now in protest.  She has stated that she will not come down until the laid off employees have been given their jobs back. As a side note, a lot of my students parents work or worked for Hanjin, and Okk (my co-teacher) was actually one of the 600 Hanjin employees to be laid off.  So, this is actually very near and dear to me.

Aaron and I were smack dab in the middle of all the action when the police trucks started spraying the protestors with water and tear gas, sending them running in all directions.  Aaron grabbed his camera and shot this video.  I know it looks crazy in this video, but don't worry mom and dad, we were up on a ledge, where only photographers and media were, and we were completely safe! 


  1. Not sure if my first comment sorry if this is a double.

    Hanjin has an office in Phoenix. Interesting stuff.

  2. Wow! I dIdnt know that. I believe it though. It's one of Koreas biggest companies.