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Seoul Students Battle Police on Festival Ban

June 30, 1989|From Associated Press

SEOUL — South Korean riot police and radical students battled with tear gas, steel bars and rocks Thursday as students demanded that the government lift a ban barring them from a youth festival in North Korea.

President Roh Tae Woo said that leftists threaten democracy in South Korea, and Unification Minister Lee Hong Koo said the government may postpone planned talks with Pyongyang's Communist government.

About 1,500 students fought riot troops around Seoul's Hanyang University after 3,000 police sealed off the campus to stop other college students from joining the protest.

A dozen students were seen to be injured. One policeman was injured seriously when tear gas shells exploded inside an armored van.

In downtown Seoul, about 700 students wanting to get into Hanyang campus occupied a major intersection. They fought riot police with firebombs and rocks, forcing shoppers to race for shelter.

"Let's march to Pyongyang!" the students shouted, demanding that the government allow them to attend a July 1-8 youth festival in North Korea.

Seoul says Pyongyang is using the festival to stir up radicals.

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