Police have fired 275,826 rounds of tear gas to block demonstrations and violent protests so far this year, up 48 percent compared to the same period last year, a Seoul newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper, quoting police statistics, said demonstrations this year were more violent, causing police to use $7.53 million worth of tear gas this year as of June 10.

South Korea produces tear gas, with much of the raw materials coming from the United States, Taiwan and other foreign countries.

The paper said police fired 15,875 rounds of tear gas last Friday to block thousands of radical students trying to march to the North Korean border for talks with North Korean students on reunifying the Korean peninsula.