South Korean protestors clash with police over MacArthur statue

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Dozens were injured when groups calling for the removal of a statue of U.S. general Douglas MacArthur clashed with police in Incheon's Freedom Park on Sunday. The clashes came four days ahead of the 55th anniversary of the Incheon Landing of UN forces led by MacArthur that marked a turning point in the Korean War.

Some 4,000 members of progressive groups who had gathered in Sungeui Stadium in Incheon's Nam-gu started marching on the park at 1 p.m. to demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Korea and the removal of the monument to the U.S. general from Freedom Park. They arrived at the park around 4 p.m.

The demonstration started off peacefully with singing, dancing and a speech by Democratic Labor Party central committee member Lee Jeong-mi, but turned violent after the reading of a declaration calling for 2005 to become the first year of the exit of U.S. forces from the peninsula.

Participants tried to approach the statue wielding metal pipes and long bamboo poles and throwing eggs at riot police who had sealed off the area. When the protesters started slinging mud, police fought back brandishing shields, clubs and fire extinguishers. The clash soon descended into chaos, with both sides hurling stones that left many injured.

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