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Seoul Police, Protesters Clash Over Rules for Assembly Vote

February 21, 1988|From Times Wire Services

SEOUL, South Korea — Police used tear gas Saturday to break up a demonstration by 600 supporters of dissident leader Kim Dae Jung who were objecting to a proposed election system they say favors South Korea's ruling party.

Several protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police who tried to prevent the marchers from leaving the Myongdong Cathedral compound in downtown Seoul, the site of numerous anti-government protests. Police responded by throwing about 10 tear-gas grenades.

Police took away dozens of protesters to try to stop the protest. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The demonstration came five days before the inauguration of President-elect Roh Tae Woo to succeed President Chun Doo Hwan.

The demonstration was called to protest proposed changes in rules for electing members of the National Assembly, the country's Parliament, in voting set for April.

The government is proposing that one to three representatives be elected from each district, based on population. Supporters of Kim Dae Jung, one of the opposition candidates who lost to Roh in the December election, want districts with only one representative.

The issue of constituencies and redrawing of electoral boundaries has been the main stumbling block in negotiations between the government and opposition parties over the Assembly elections.

Kim believes the smaller constituency system will help his party gain seats in the Assembly.

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