South Korean workers rally against their real-life economic woes in 'Squid Game' costumes

The Seoul city government has filed a police complaint against members of South Korea's main labour group who, wearing outfits of megahit "Squid Game", defied COVID-19 curbs to protest for more jobs and better work conditions.

Let's take a look at the protest:

Nationwide demonstration

Thousands of members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) staged a nationwide demonstration, according to the group, including in downtown Seoul, where dozens of members dressed up in flamboyant jumpsuits and masks worn by actors in the Netflix show.


'Inequality Out'

Unionists dressed up in pink jumpsuits and masks with white circle, square or triangle symbols worn by guards in "Squid Game" were seen beating drums to loud music and dancing. Some held flags and signs reading “Inequality Out" and "Safe Youth Employment; Quality Youth Employment", footage from the group's YouTube channel showed.


Violation of basic rights

Seoul city has filed a complaint against the group with the police for staging illegal protests violating the infectious disease prevention law, the local government said.

The restrictions violate the basic rights granted by the Constitution and it is unfair that outdoor rallies are seen as more dangerous than sporting events where more spectators are allowed, said KCTU spokesman Han Sang-jin.


Biggest chaebols in the country

With about 1.1 million members overall, the KCTU represents workers at some of the biggest chaebols in the country, including Hyundai Motor, LG Chem and government-owned Korail Railroad Corp. The union workers are quite powerful, amassing fairly strong benefits over the years.

South Korean trade unions have a long history of activism but their recent rallies have led to confrontation with authorities trying to enforce curbs to stop the coronavirus as the rallies have been blamed for surge in COVID-19 cases.

Only one-person protests are allowed in the capital and surrounding areas under current social distancing rules.


Megahit show made in South Korea

Made in South Korea, the nine-part thriller, in which cash-strapped contestants play deadly childhood games in a bid to win 45.6 billion won ($38 million), became a worldwide sensation for Netflix when it premiered in September.


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