April 25 (UPI) -- Two people were injured as merchants of Seoul's biggest wholesale fish market clashed with government evictors on Thursday as they continue to resist relocation orders.
More than 200 vendors at Noryangjin Fish Market, a favorite tourist destination where U.S. comedian Conan O'Brien filmed an episode in 2016, fought off about 100 representatives from the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives, a government agency, Yonhap reported Thursday.
The federation operates the old building established nearly 50 years ago. The structure has become a familiar Seoul landmark and merchants have said the location is part of their identity.
The South Korean government agency wants the merchants to move to an eight-story facility next door that was completed in 2016 and cost $455 million to build, according to the Korea Times.
The paper reported Thursday the dispute between vendors and the agency has continued for three years. Tensions started at 6 a.m. when vendors blocked the entrance to the market, while demanding the fisheries cooperative "guarantee their livelihood."
The agency, known as Suhyup, had also installed speakers along the entrance. They accused the merchants of "illegally occupying" the old market.
Yun Heon-ju, chair of the emergency measures committee at Noryangjin, said the merchants are being targeted in a "violent way."
"We will fight to the death," Yun said, as vendors in their rubber boots and aprons linked arms in symbolic resistance.
Two Suhyup representatives who tried to enter the market suffered injuries during a clash and were rushed to a hospital.
The agency was attempting to enforce the eviction order for the fifth time.
Suhyup has cut off the water supply to the market, but merchants continue to operate by using their own generators.