Police clash with protesters in Seoul; 6 dead

Police clash with protesters in Seoul; 6 dead

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Police commandos stormed a vacant office building occupied by displaced tenants in central Seoul early Tuesday, sparking a clash and a blaze that killed six people and injured 23, authorities said.

A team of 100 commandos landed on the roof in a shipping container to break up the protest by some 40 people who had camped for days in the five-story building in Seoul’s Yongsan neighborhood, Seoul police said.

The protesters were tenants and small business owners pushing for better compensation from construction companies redeveloping buildings in the area, a tenants’ rights group said.

The protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police and out the building’s windows, police said. Fire then engulfed the rooftop within minutes, sending flames and black smoke shooting into the sky and trapping people inside, witnesses said.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about an hour, authorities said. Several dozen people inside the building were evacuated and 28 people were arrested, police said.

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