Five radical students armed with bombs and knives seized a U.S. Information Service office today, detonated two bombs and started a fire before police overpowered them.
Two of the students brandishing explosive devices and draped in South Korean flags stood at shattered windows on the second floor yelling "Yankee, go home!" as riot police ringed the building.
U.S. Embassy officials said they had no reports of injuries, but the attackers smashed windows and set a fire in a periodical storage room. Thick smoke filled part of the building located in the heart of Seoul.
Some of the attackers were reading in the office's library when there was a large explosion in a nearby room and they suddenly pulled out bombs and started screaming slogans, eyewitnesses said. At least one of the attackers pulled out a knife and brandished it, they said.
Police who entered the building by the rear entrance overpowered the protesters about 30 minutes after the attack began.
Later today, about 5,000 anti-government radicals staged 33 demonstrations in at least eight cities to denounce the new government of President-elect Roh Tae Woo, who is to take his oath of office Thursday. The protesters yelled, "Roh Tae Woo out!" and "Yankee puppet!"
Turnout at the protests was very light, and they appeared to attract little public support. Most Koreans have rejected radical groups.