Rebelious citizens of Kwangju demanded concessions today from the martial law command whose troops they had battled for four violent days and finally driven from the southern provincial captial.
A new citizen's committee insisted that troops stay out of the city and said the central government must compensate families of the dead and wounded and promise to refrain from retaliation. The government here had no immediate response, but earlier in the day the new acting prime minister promised that "maximum patience" would be used in the city.
Although violence in Kwangju subsided today, the toll of dead and injured continued to mount. The reports varied widely. The Associated Press reported 57 dead and other reports used a higher number.
Violent demonstrations have continued since Sunday night in Kwangju to protest the country's takeover by military leaders last weekend, a bloodless coup followed by arrests of key political leaders and many prominent dissidents.
Among those arrested was opposition leader Kim Dae Jung, who comes from the province in which Kwangju is located, and much of the anger of citizens is traced to the government's treatment of a favorite son.
Authorities strongly indicated today that Kim may face charges of trying to overthrow the government, an offense punishable by hanging or life imprisonment.
The martial law command released an interim investigative report charging the former presidential candidate with trying to organize a "people's uprising" to overthrow the government.
It accused him and associates of giving large sums of money to students who organized last week's massive demonstrations in Seoul, hoping to incite a mass uprising because he felt he could not take power by legal means. Before the coup Kim planned to run for president.
The report also resurrected old charges that Kim had links to procomunist groups in the late 1940's.
Although the report did not contain the specific charges he would face, its language is similar to that used in the past to support charges of sedition, a capital offense. It said more reports on his activities would be made as the investigation proceeded.
Meanwhile, the violence spread to many nearby towns in South Cholla Province with disurbances in 16 out of 26 provincial cities and counties, according to reports from there. In several of the incidents, citizens burned police stations and held large demonstrations. Troops had been withdrawn from most towns.
Tens of thousand demonstrated in Mokpo, which is Kin's home town. Demonstrators burned the police station and destroyed a naval police office, forcing the police to evacuate by sea. In another town, demonstrators set fire to a tire factory.
Newspapers reported thefts of large numbers of guns, ammunition, and explosives from military armorie and private factories.
The weapons were used to drived government troops from downtown Kwangju Wednesday. One account said that Kwangju citizens and students mounted two machine guns atop a hospital and fired into the provincial administration building, forcing the evaculation of several hundred paratroopers.
Kwangju has been sealed off to visitors for two days but reports continuedd to come out through radio and South Korean reporters who sneaked out to reach telephones in neighboring towns.
One South Korean cameraman who got out said the city was devastated, with many burned automobiles in the streets. Students armed with automatic rifles seized from military storage points roamed the streets. They mounted machine guns on commandeered automobiles and rode through the streets in buses and military vehicles left behind by the retreating government forces.
Others who came out said students were seizing every available automobile in the city, forcing owners to get out and walk or risk being killed.
Martial law troops withdrew from the central city yesterday and held points on the perimeter, including a prison. Reporters seeking to enter the city were turned away at a barricade of piled-up sand about two miles outside the city limits.
With the troops gone, citizens held a mass rally downtown to denounce a martial law statement that had portrayed the violence as the work of spies from communist North Korea.
Meanwhile, a group of 15 civic, academic and religious leaders formed a negotiating committee that issued seven demands to martial law authorities. One report said the committee is headed by Catholic Archbishop Yoon Kong Hie.
It demanded that troops stay out and that the central government recognize publicly that it had overreacted to student demonstrations Sunday. There have been several reports that women were stripped of their clothes and beaten with rifle butts.
The committee also demanded the unconditional release of students and citizens arrested by the troops and publication of an accurate list of the numbers of dead and wounded. The government's casualties lists have been far shorter than those reported by foreign news media.
However, some reports suggested the committee did not have the support of armed students who were said to be in command of many of the streets and buildings of Kwangju.
Meanwhile, the country's new acting prime minister, Park Choong Hoon, flew to the battered city in a government helicopter today but was unable to land. After getting a report from martial law commanders on the outskirts, he issued a statement asking the citizens to return to their homes and not to be incited by what he called "impure elements," a phrase commonly used to describe communists.
Park said the government will do everything it can to reconstruct damaged areas and restore normal life and would act with "maximum patience."
The rest of the country was calm and for the most part unaware of the violent rebellion in Kwangju. The press and broadcasting stations, subject to strict censorship under the martial law order, were permitted to disseminate information on the uprising for the first time tonight.