In South Korea's largest crackdown ever on campus activism, 438 students were charged Tuesday with taking part in violent, anti-government demonstrations last month.
They were among 7,000 students who gathered at Seoul's Yonsei University in August to protest government policy on reunification with North Korea.
After eight days of repeated clashes between students and police, the government sent in thosands of riot police to crush the rally, which it had banned as pro-communist.
One police officer was killed. More than 1,000 people were injured. About 5,500 students were detained for questioning and 465 were arrested.
Prosecutors said they were indicting 438 of those arrested on charges of violence. Such charges call for up to seven years in prison.
Thirty students faced additional charges of pledging loyalty to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the prosecutors said.
The violence prompted the government to outlaw Hanchongryon, the nationwide student group that organized the Yonsei rally. Police are still looking for some of its leaders.
In the past decade, students have held a unification rally annually, timed to coincide with Korea's August 15th Independence Day, but this year's rally, led by hardliners, was more violent.
Students supported North Korea's demands for the withdrawal of 37,000 U.S. troops from South Korea, saying they obstruct Korean reunification.
They also supported North Korea's push for direct peace talks with Washington - leaving out Seoul, which the North considers a U.S. puppet.
Government officials believe that leftist students, allied with North Korea's communist regime, were trying to undermine the Seoul government.
The two Koreas fought in 1950-53 and are still technically at war.
(Source: The Japan Times, Wednesday, September 18, 1996)
Solidarity With the Hanchongryon Prisoners!
U.S. Troops Out Of Korea!
Arm The Spirit is an autonomist/anti-imperialist information collective based in Toronto, Canada. Our focus includes a wide variety of material, including political prisoners, national liberation struggles, armed communist resistance, anti-fascism, the fight against patriarchy, and more. We regularly publish our writings, research, and translation materials in our magazine and bulletins called Arm The Spirit. For more information, contact:
Arm The Spirit
P.O. Box 6326, Stn. A
M5W 1P7 Canada
FTP: ftp.etext.org --> /pub/Politics/Arm.The.Spirit
ATS-L Archives: http://burn.ucsd.edu/~archive/ats-l