Leaders of Korea’s democratization call for emergency convention to address issues posed by Yoon

Posted on : 2023-01-20 15:05 KST Modified on : 2023-01-20 15:05 KST
The figures from Korea’s pro-democracy movement called for an emergency convention to stop labor repression, prosecutorial despotism and South Korea-US nuclear weapon drills
Figures from Korea’s democratization movement pose for a photo after holding a press conference proposing a national convention to deal with “emergency problems of suppression of labor, the despotism of prosecutors, and stopping South Korea-US nuclear drills.” (courtesy of the Free Press Practice Foundation)
Figures from Korea’s democratization movement pose for a photo after holding a press conference proposing a national convention to deal with “emergency problems of suppression of labor, the despotism of prosecutors, and stopping South Korea-US nuclear drills.” (courtesy of the Free Press Practice Foundation)

Venerable members of the religious, legal and academic communities who led Korea’s democratization movement against the dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s have proposed holding a national convention about what they describe as an “emergency situation.”

“Since Yoon Suk-yeol became president, the public livelihood has been degraded by a pro-chaebol, anti-labor policy; democracy has been backsliding because of the high-handed antics of the despotic prosecution service; and the threat of war has been growing on the Korean Peninsula,” these respected members of society said in a statement calling for a national convention around March 1, the anniversary of the 1919 pro-independence movement.

Veterans of Korea’s democratization movement who are currently out of politics held a press conference at the Christian Building in the Jongno District of Seoul on Thursday morning and proposed holding an “emergency convention to stop labor repression, prosecutorial despotism and South Korea-US nuclear weapon drills.” The figures in attendance included Catholic Rev. Ham Se-ung, protestant Pastors Kim Sang-geun and Ahn Jae-ung, and Lee Bu-yeong, the chairman of the board of the Free Press Practice Foundation.

“Under the banner of the rule of law, the Yoon administration is seeking to stigmatize civic groups and other opponents as being corrupt North Korean sympathizers,” the figures in attendance said while calling for Yoon to halt what they called “repressive measures.”

“The Yoon administration is mobilizing politicized prosecutors to destroy democracy and impose inequality and polarization that are driving ordinary citizens to the brink. Since Yoon took office, the Korean people have been left defenseless before prosecutorial despotism, a catastrophic economic crisis and the creeping threat of nuclear war,” they said.

“The Yoon administration doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it’s an anti-labor, pro-business administration cloaked in the rule of law. It’s openly repressing the labor movement by labeling the unions as spoiled and branding them as dens of corruption,” the figures said.

“The Yoon administration has set the president’s family and the people in power above the law in a mockery of its proclamation of the rule of law and is trying to stigmatize opposing forces, including the opposition parties and civic groups, as corrupt North Korea sympathizers.”

These figures also voiced their concerns about the government’s crackdown on the press and its lack of cooperation with the opposition party.

“[The Yoon administration] is threatening freedom of speech, which is fundamental for defending democratic society. As a result, this country is already dropping out of the ranks of advanced democracies. The Yoon administration is insisting on a high-handed and arrogant rule of law as if it were some kind of occupying army even though Yoon only won the presidential election by a tiny margin of 0.73%.”

By Park Ji-young, staff reporter

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