Radical students stormed the U.S. Embassy compound Friday, hurled six crude homemade bombs and wounded a police officer in the fourth day of clashes between anti-government protesters and police.
Students staged demonstrations and marches Friday at colleges in Seoul and other cities to demand the overthrow of President Roh Tae-woo and removal of U.S. troops. Many protests were peaceful, but some turned into battles with police in green combat fatigues and black visored helmets."Down with the military dictatorship" and "Drive out the Yankee imperialists" protesters shouted.
Students hurling firebombs and rocks battled police around at least three colleges in Seoul and one in the southern city of Kwangju.
Police fired tear gas and formed walls of shields to stop protesters from marching into the streets.
Eight students were arrested Friday in Suwon, south of Seoul, when they stormed an office of the governing Democratic Justice Party with fire-bombs and sticks. Riot police overpowered the attackers.
Students carrying a South Korean flag and banners denouncing the government and the United States scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy compound, and others rushed the gate, police said.
They threw six bombs at police guards. One officer was hurt when four of the devices exploded. The officer was hospitalized with wounds, police said.
The intruders ran around the embassy compound for several minutes, shouting "Drive out the U.S.!" and scattering leaflets before riot police overpowered and arrested seven protesters. Witnesses said some of the protesters got away.
The state-run Korean Broadcast System said one student was injured by a policeman armed with an iron bar, but police said they could not confirm the report.
U.S. Embassy officials said the bombs did not damage the building and no American personnel was hurt. Police said the bombs were crude chemical explosives packed in soft drink cans.
Radical groups called for a march in Seoul on Saturday to denounce the government. Opposition church groups also called for peaceful protests.
Police remained on nationwide alert, and riot squads stood guard at key locations in Seoul or waited out of sight in side streets.
Protesters have denounced the United States in demonstrations this week, charging that Washington supports military dictatorship in South Korea.
On Thursday, protesters broker windows and hurled firebombs at the Seoul office of the U.S. Information Agency.