With all the mess going on between regarding the deployment of 2ID troops to Iraq, I don't want to forget to let folks know that tomorrow is a major anniversery in Korean politics, especially among leftist and anti-American groups: the start of the revolt which eventually lead to the Gwangju Massacre.
The BBC has a nice little overview of the events that started on May 18, 1980. Student groups, backed by workers repeatedly clashed with military forces sent in to suppress dissent. By May 21, troops were firing live ammo at protesters. However, after the protesters armed themselves, troops withdrew from the city. The troops returned several days later and retook the city within hours. Between 240 and 2,000 people died in the fighting, depending on which source you trust.
Since then, the time between May 18 and final exams in June has been the traditional riot season. However, with Korean democracy maturing over the last 16 years, they have become less popular.
People visiting graves at the National 5.18 Cemetery in Gwangju yesterday (Donga Ilbo pic)
Of course, some Korean groups blame the United States for not interfering in Korea's internal affairs to suppress Chun and back the folks in Gwangju. I even came across an old Village Voice article that blames then-President Jimmy Carter by name.