INCHON, South Korea — A thrown tear-gas shell just missed South Korean presidential candidate Roh Tae Woo on Saturday, and hundreds of students clashed violently with riot police during anti-government protests, witnesses said.
A student was arrested after throwing the unexploded shell at the ruling party candidate's motorcade as he arrived outside City Hall in this western port for a rally in the campaign for December's presidential election.
The shell, which hit the back of a National Assemblyman standing beside Roh in an open truck, was first described as a stone by government officials and several people at the scene. Witnesses later discovered it to be a small tear-gas shell.
The former general, the political heir to President Chun Doo Hwan, has been the target of anti-government protests because of his close links with Chun. He has been pelted with eggs, tear-gas shells and firebombs while canvassing the country in recent weeks.
At the southwest city of Kwangju, scene of a bloody 1980 civil insurrection against Chun-led martial law, several hundred students attacked riot police with stones and gasoline bombs, shouting "Go away, Roh Tae Woo!" About a dozen demonstrators were detained, witnesses said.
The students were protesting Roh's scheduled campaign visit today to Kwangju, power base of opposition candidate Kim Dae Jung, Chun's arch foe.
In Seoul, thousands of police foiled attempts by dissident groups to stage a major anti-Roh rally at a downtown park. No violent clashes were reported, but police bundled about 30 dissident leaders into a police van and later released them on the outskirts of the city, witnesses said.
About 30 youths hurled firebombs and stones at the ruling party's offices in Chongju on Saturday, police in the central town said.
Dissidents accuse Roh of helping Chun seize power in a 1979 military takeover and of helping to brutally crush the Kwangju rebellion, with the loss of 193 lives by official count. They say the death toll was actually much higher.
Opposition chief Kim Young Sam accused Roh on Saturday of planning massive election rigging, including vote-buying and influence-peddling by civil servants.