SEOUL — A radical student set himself afire and jumped from a second-story window on a college campus Friday to protest the fatal police beating of a fellow demonstrator.
The immolation, the third by a student protester this week, came as radicals planned nationwide protests today demanding that the South Korean government disband a specially trained police unit accused of the beating death last week. The student who set himself ablaze Friday died several hours later at Yonsei University.
The beating death, the suicides and the widespread protests they have triggered represent a serious challenge to President Roh Tae Woo, who has removed a Cabinet minister in an unsuccessful bid to stem the demonstrations.
An alliance of 40 radical student and dissident groups said they will stage anti-government protests across South Korea today. Government officials said more than 20,000 police will be deployed to block protests expected in Seoul and about a dozen other cities.
Unrest mounted Friday after the student poured paint thinner over his body, set it ablaze and jumped from one of his school buildings before 200 demonstrators.
Witnesses said the student, identified as Chun Sei Yong, a 20-year-old sophomore at Kyongwon University outside Seoul, shouted "Down with Roh Tae Woo!" before acting.
On Thursday, a student protester died of burns he suffered a day earlier. Another student remained in critical condition with self-inflicted burns.
The fatal beating April 26 of Kang Kyung Dae, a Seoul college student, by police during an anti-government protest sparked the violent nationwide protests.
Students vowed to continue the protests until the entire Cabinet resigns.
In an unusually swift move, Roh fired his home minister earlier this week and expressed "his deepest regret and sympathy for the victims."
But dissidents said the action and remarks by Roh were not enough.