Protesters demanding the overthrow of President Roh Tae-woo battled riot police with firebombs and rocks Saturday in the city center after being blocked from marching to the presidential palace.

Thousands of terrified people, many out for Christmas shopping, ran for cover as hundreds of riot police and protesters battled in the main shopping district. Authorities deployed 9,000 riot police to block the march by about 2,000 radical students and dissidents.Police had no figures on arrests or injuries, but officers and protesters were seen with blood pouring from head wounds and other injuries. Protesters and officers caught by the other side were brutally beaten.