Seoul Students Battle Police Near Cathedral

Associated Press

Hundreds of students occupied the compound of Seoul's Roman Catholic cathedral, erected barricades and battled police with firebombs and rocks today as supporters tried to break through to reinforce them.

Several thousand demonstrators, chanting "Down with military dictatorship!" and demanding the ouster of President Chun Doo Hwan's ruling party, clashed with helmeted riot police in downtown Seoul for a second day.

Much of the fighting was centered upon the Myongdong Cathedral complex, which besieged students declared "a liberated zone" as they attacked police with iron bars, wooden clubs and fists.

Tear Gas Grenades

Clashes erupted in the maze of narrow streets surrounding the cathedral as protesters tried to break through thousands of riot police to reinforce their besieged colleagues. Most of them failed.

Fighting spread to other areas as columns of riot police hurled tear gas grenades to clear the streets.

Police halted and searched pedestrians and took away scores of them, but authorities declined to provide any arrest figures.

Priests said at least 12 students were seriously hurt, including several hit at close range by tear gas canisters.

Protesters yelled, "Yankee, go home!" and other anti-American slogans, reflecting their claims that Washington has helped keep Chun in power. The U.S. Embassy warned Americans to stay off the streets.


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