Thousands of riot police moved into the SsangYong Motor factory in Pyeongtaek today under a court order to disperse laid-off workers who have occupied the factory for about two months.

However, they haven’t entirely cleared the plant entirely and a group of some 800 protesters are reportedly holding out in the paint shop.

The building reportedly contains more than 33,000 litres of inflammable material including paint thinner. For safety reasons, the police are said to be cautious about moving into the paint shop.

The police move came after Ssangyong Motor cut off water and gas to the plant.

The protesting workers reportedly fired nuts and bolts from large slingshots Monday as about 700 officers sheltering behind steel nets deployed.

Police have been reluctant to get involved in the management-labour confrontation which started after a massive layoff announced last month as part of restructuring efforts to keep the company afloat and avoid liquidation.

Ssangyong has been under bankruptcy protection since February.