Radicals, Shouting ‘Get Out Yankee Devils,’ Continue Protests
TAEJON, South Korea (AP) _ Radical student leaders vowed today to press further with their drive to oust President Roh Tae-woo and expel U.S. forces as thousands of supporters shouted ″Get out, Yankee devils 3/8″
Meanwhile in Kwangju, thousands of students assembled for rallies denouncing the death of a 24-year-old radical student whose body was found Wednesday. Dissident groups have charged Lee Chol-kyu was tortured and killed by police.
Police have denied the charges and Roh has ordered a thorough investigation of the case. About 30 students visited the hospital morgue today where Lee’s body laid, cut their fingers and wrote ″Punish Roh Tae-woo″ in blood on placards.
About 4,000 radical student representatives from across South Korea attended a meeting of the National Council of Students in Taejon to discuss strategy and prepare for anti-government protests.
Authorities mobilized 4,000 riot police for the student demonstration at Chungnam University, but troopers did not intervene.
Student leaders denounced the Roh government, charging it was plotting to impose authoritarian rule. Leaders called for nationwide protests later this month to topple Roh.
″We must oust the Roh regime,″ said one leader as protesters cheered and beat drums and brass gongs.
South Korea has been hit by a wave of violent protests and labor strikes in recent months as radical groups have tried to weaken the government. But the radicals are not seen as a serious threat to the government despite their violent tactics.
Student leaders in Taejon, 84 miles south of Seoul, called for the expulsion of the 43,000 U.S. troops based in South Korea based under a mutual defense treaty. They charged Washington and the Roh government were imposing colonial rule on the country.
Other speakers charged the United States was keeping troops in South Korea to block reunification with communist North Korea. They called for immediate reunification with the north.
″Let’s inflict an irrevocable defeat on U.S. imperialism and advance the unification of our fatherland,″ said student leader Im Chong-suk.
Cheering students chanted, ″Punish Yankee imperialism″ and ″Yankees go home.″
Leaders denounced a proposal to relocate some U.S. military units from Seoul to Taejon. They charged American soldiers would spread AIDS among the local population.
Speakers ridiculed American soldiers as the ″AIDS legion.″
The radical leaders said they would continue to try to avoid violent protests, but vowed never to give up their drive to topple the Roh government.
Some radical students have said they would halt violent protests after six riot policemen were killed and 10 others critically injured May 3 in a clash with students in Pusan.
The Roh government ordered a major crackdown on dissident groups after the deaths. Many South Koreans, angered by the deaths, have called for an end to a recent wave of violent anti-government protests and labor strikes.
Radical students claim Roh is a front for military rule and Washington helps control the Seoul government.
U.S. officials have agreed to a plan to relocate some military units from Seoul to Taejon to free up needed land in the capital and to reduce the visibility of the American military presence.
South Korean and U.S. officials say American troops are needed in the south to defend against possible threats from communist North Korea. U.S. forces have been in the south since intervening in 1950 to help stop the North Korean invasion that started the three-year Korean War.