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Seoul goes to battle as workers unite

Thousands of workers turned central Seoul into a rubble-strewn battleground yesterday as they clashed with riot police, sending terrified shoppers racing for cover.

The clashes came as South Korea's main union group called for the biggest strike in the nation's history in protest at a new law which allows companies to lay off workers. Some militant unionists went to ground in a cathedral; prosecutors threatened to send police to seize them.

The Federation of Korean Trade Unions, which claims 1.2 million members, said a two-day strike would begin on Tuesday to try to force the government to drop the law. Reuters - Seoul