South Korean Labor Demonstrations Draw Inspiration From Squid Game


South Korean Workers took to the streets Thursday, many of them donning costumes inspired by the Netflix series, Squid Game, to demonstrate for better working conditions.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions organized the demonstrations of roughly 16,000 people in total that took place across South Korea, protesting against irregular employment contracts and laws they claim don’t protect employees at smaller companies of up to five employees. The KCTU also called for all workers to have the right to form unions and more government efforts to ensure job security.

In one video posted to Twitter, workers can be seen in Squid Game-inspired outfits as they beat on a variety of percussion instruments. The full clip can be viewed below.

Squid Game’s narrative centers on destitute and debt-ridden Koreans who compete against each other for a massive cash prize in a series of games with deadly consequences for eliminated players. 
The series protagonist, Seong Gi-Hun, is a former autoworker who loses his job after the company he works for goes bankrupt. He participates in a strike that police violently suppress and the imagery is deeply reminiscent of the real-life SsangYong Motors strike of 2009, which may explain why the series has resonated with Korean as well as global audiences.

The popularity of Squid Game, which quickly became the biggest series in Netflix history earlier this year, presents an opportunity for South Korean workers to voice their concerns about conditions in the workplace and many demonstrators wore costumes based on Squid Game’s masked henchmen.