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Foes Target Kim Dae Jung, Call for Him to Quit Race

December 07, 1987|Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — Presidential candidate Kim Dae Jung was met by a hail of eggs, sticks and stones at a rally Sunday as protesters demanded that he quit the race to unify the opposition.

The hostile spectators forced Kim to rush through his speech and then burned two of his staff cars as the opposition candidate scrambled to leave the rally in the southern port of Masan. Kim was not hurt, but at least three of his supporters were injured.

Meanwhile, in Seoul, tens of thousands of students marched and chanted slogans against government candidate Roh Tae Woo. Police stood by but did not interfere.

Kim Dae Jung, speaking in the southeastern part of the country where his opposition rival Kim Young Sam has strong support, was booed by thousands of people who shouted Kim Young Sam's name.

Shielded by Placards

Yelling "Concede! Concede!" protesters hurled rocks, sticks, bottles and eggs. Kim had to finish his speech under cover of placards held by aides.

The Kims are the opposition's two strongest candidates. They have been attacked by protesters during appearances in one another's regional strongholds for failing to field a single candidate in the Dec. 16 election, despite earlier promises to do so.

Both had belonged to the main opposition Reunification Democratic Party, which nominated Kim Young Sam as its candidate. Kim Dae Jung left the party to wage his own campaign.

Opposition supporters believe the split may result in a victory for the governing Democratic Justice Party.

"I would never withdraw. . . . Let's set aside regional antagonism," Kim Dae Jung urged as hundreds of protesters charged the podium and fought with security guards and Kim supporters.

As Kim was driven away through the crowd estimated at 20,000, spectators hurled rocks and charged his car. Others overturned a 17-foot-high makeshift grandstand near the car but missed the vehicle.

Denounces Two Kims

In Seoul, another opposition candidate, Baek Ki Wan, denounced the two Kims for splitting the opposition and urged them to unite in a coalition joined by all "democratic groups." He also urged Roh to drop out of the race.

Baek, known for his active dissidence, is one of three minor candidates. Either Roh or one of the Kims is expected to win the election.

About 5,000 students and dissidents rallied Sunday at Yonsei University in Seoul to demand a single opposition candidate. When police blocked the protesters from marching off campus, hundreds threw firebombs and rocks, and police answered with tear gas.

Outgoing President Chun Doo Hwan agreed to popular presidential elections in July after weeks of unrest by protesters demanding democratic reforms. The opposition said the old electoral college style of choosing a president favored the governing party.

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