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Campus Protests Rage for 5th Day Across S. Korea

May 16, 1987|Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — Students hurled rocks and firebombs at riot police Friday at dozens of universities as violent protests against the government of President Chun Doo Hwan continued for a fifth straight day.

Dissident leaders, meanwhile, vowed to step up the protests this weekend to mark the anniversary Monday of the 1980 suppression by the armed forces of an uprising in the southern city of Kwangju, in which nearly 200 people died by official count.

Police used armored cars, tear gas and baton charges to break up demonstrations at 34 universities and colleges around the country. Columns of students singing revolutionary songs tried to march off campuses as waiting riot police units repeatedly drove them back.

Clashes erupted in the center of Kwangju when about 100 students hurling rocks attacked a police post, injuring an officer, the state television reported. It was the first major clash reported outside a campus during the recent wave of demonstrations.

Police officials said 10,000 students took part in the protests nationwide, but the figure appeared too low because 3,000 students participated in just one demonstration in Seoul, which saw clashes at 12 schools.

"Down with the military dictatorship!" and "Freedom, Freedom!" the students shouted during clashes in Seoul and several provincial cities as they rained firebombs, rocks and bricks on lines of helmeted riot police equipped with shields.

Student leaders told cheering supporters to step up protests over the weekend and to press efforts to oust Chun.

Opposition groups are demanding that Chun reverse his April 13 decision calling off negotiations on political reforms until after the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

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