Tens of Thousands Demand Ex-President's Arrest
Nov. 05, 1988
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ Tens of thousands of screaming protesters clashed with police throughout South Korea on Saturday, demanding the arrest of former President Chun Doo- hwan on corruption charges.
Riot police in Seoul fired tear gas to block a 10,000-strong crowd from marching to the former president's house. The protesters brandished rocks and threw firebombs.
At least 11 officers were injured, authorities said, including 10 hurt when a police station in Seoul was pelted with rocks and firebombed. Dozens of protesters were seen injured and carried away, but police gave no figures for the total number of injuries and arrests.
Tear gas filled the streets of seven other South Korea cities - Wonju, Chunchon, Cheju, Kwangju, Taegu, Taejon and Pusan - as police fought students at anti-Chun rallies, authorities reported.
The scandal over corruption allegedly committed by Chun and his family has become the major political issue in South Korea since the Summer Olympics in Seoul. On Saturday, three opposition groups rejected a governing party offer for Chun to make a public apology for his alleged misdeeds in office.
Students in Seoul burned effigies of Chun, President Roh Tae-woo and Uncle Sam, and thousands of citizens cheered and shouted ''Arrest Chun Doo-hwan 3/8''
Roh was elected in December to replace Chun, who held office seven years. The election followed months of anti-government demonstrations.
In Pusan, an opposition stronghold south of Seoul, police fired tear gas at thousands of protesters trying to burn an effigy of the former president after a street march, according to Yonhap, the South Korean news agency.
Police also battled groups of slogan-chanting protesters in Kwangju, after students razed two police buses, shattered dozens of windows and damaged eight cars in a firebomb attack on a government prosecutors' building.
One student was injured when he fell out of a third-floor window.
In Seoul, police martial arts squads drove protesters into side streets, beating and kicking them, but the protest swelled with thousands of other citizens demanding Chun's arrest.
Thousands of riot police using armored vehicles fired volleys of tear gas at more than 15,000 protesters at one crowded shopping area.
At least 10 police officers were hurt when students hurled rocks and scores of firebombs into a police station in Seoul.
A police officer was injured on the southern outskirts of Seoul when students attacked an office of the governing Democratic Justice Party with firebombs.
During the Seoul rally Saturday, dissident leaders called for bigger rallies next week and vowed to attack Chun's house.
Radical students have launched attacks on government buildings and party offices since Thursday, when riot police blocked a march to Chun's home by thousands of students.
The governing party, in a move aimed at ending the protests, proposed Saturday that Chun apologize or respond to allegations of corruption and misrule, but opposition leaders rejected the offer and demanded an investigation.
Chun's younger brother, Chun Kyung-hwan, was recently sentenced to seven years' in prison for taking bribes and misusing millions of dollars in government money while he headed a rural development program.
Chun, who took power with military backing in 1980, also is being investigated for his alleged role in putting down a 1980 civil uprising in Kwangju. By official count, about 200 people died in the military suppression of the nine-day uprising.
Roh, a former military general and a friend of Chun, arrived in Australia on Saturday to begin a four-day visit and did not comment on the disturbances.