On January 6, Kim Jin-suk began her sit-in against her employers plans to shed 400 workers, in the control room of crane No. 85. This was the same place where in October 2003 her co-worker Kim Ju-ik ended his 129-day sit-in protesting 600 job cuts by committing suicide.Two hundred and nine days later she still remains perched atop the crane some 115 feet above the ground.
The company has tried starving her out,cutting off electricity and limiting her ability to communicate with her supporters and the media yet she soldiers on,even in spite of the fact that her union has caved and made a deal with the company to allow a few more workers to retire.
Her supporters who have dubbed themselves the Hope Riders are growing in numbers with each protest, protests by the way that are violently suppressed by the police and company goons, something reminiscent of early 20th century North America.
During a July 10 march, the police used water cannons to blast protesters with PAVA—a new and particularly dangerous form of pepper spray—leaving many collapsing.
This week the Hope Riders were successful in reaching the base of the crane where Kim was able to address them
“Until tonight, we could not envision getting off the bus of despair that is crashing towards corruption, destruction and barbarism. Now, we have built a bus on our own. On the bus bound for hope and bound for the future, we are all drivers. Kim Jin-sukSupporters flew 200 sky lanterns, lighting up the night.
Here is an excellent report fom AJStream that includes a brief interview with Kim Jin-suk