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80 thousand South Koreans took to the streets in protest against the government’s push to modify state-issued history textbooks, neglecting the influence of labor reform and opening the agricultural market to other countries.

On April 24, rallies led by South Korean labors and civil servants took place to oppose the amendment of related labor laws. The labor reform benefits only the country’s huge family-controlled conglomerates, and make it easier to cut their wage and hire more part-time workers.

On October 12, the South Korean Ministry of Education announced to withdraw people’s right to write textbooks and would adopt a state-authored history textbook in 2017. The opposing party, students and academic field have denounced the government’s new policy. Over 60 thousand professors have signed a petition opposing the plan.

Liberty Times reports, according to CTV NEWS, many masked people waved flags while yelling, “Park Geun-hye step down,” “You can not dismiss the employees” and other slogans. The demonstration took over the main roads in Seoul. Some smashed the windows of police cars with sticks and sprayed anti-government slogans on them; others fought with the police. The police used water canons to disperse the crowd and even fired tear gas.

UDN reports, protestors say the government intends to modify the law to keep their salary at low level.

Agricultural groups criticize the government for introducing agricultural products from foreign countries and ignoring the local agricultural market.

Others believe the government attempts to adopt a state-issued history textbook to beautify the past dictatorial governments and bloody transition toward democracy in the 1980s.

The police say that this might be the largest street protest in Seoul in the last seven years. The last one had 100 thousand protestors going to the streets against the import of US beef for fear of mad cow disease in 2008.

China Times reports, the police were going to arrest the protest organizer, Han Sang-gyun, at the press conference near the demonstration site. Han, president of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, is wanted under a warrant for organizing previous illegal rallies. Han said in a press conference that if the government insists on passing the law that exploits labors, they plan to go on strike again at the beginning of next month.

South Korea Protest

Protesters and the police at the largest street protest in Seoul in the last seven years. Photo Credit:AP

South Korea Protest

Photo Credit:AP

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang