SEOUL, JULY 3 -- Thousands of South Korean students, many of them skeptical of political concessions offered this week by the government, gathered today in a grassy amphitheater at Seoul's Yonsei University to plot a strategy of keeping up pressure for democratization.
The gathering had some of the air of a victory celebration. But the message from many people who stepped to the microphone was that the government might go back on its word.
"We have been deceived so many times," said a Yonsei commercial college student. "Many people distrust the real intention of the government." Students from many other Seoul campuses also attended.
Following more than five hours of speeches, songs and antigovernment chanting, more than 2,000 of the students marched peacefully out of the campus' main gate.
Several hundred riot police on the scene stood aside to let them pass through an intersection that in past weeks was an almost daily battleground.
Several blocks away, the students sat down on sidewalks and sang songs in a subway station before dispersing. It was an unusual example of restraint on both sides.
Earlier this week, the ruling Democratic Justice Party bowed to three weeks of often violent protests in the streets led by students and agreed to grant virtually all of the opposition's demands, including direct presidential elections and the release of political prisoners.
Many Koreans are hailing the party and its chairman, Roh Tae Woo, for recognizing public sentiment and granting the concessions to the opposition, rather than trying to end the crisis through force.
Some students are angry that the government is depicting the concessions as a benevolent gift from Roh.
"It's not something Mr. Roh can do as a favor," said one Yonsei student. "It's something we really deserve."
Some observers say that the government's strategy in granting the concessions was to split radical students away from moderate students and other members of the public.
If this were so, it seems to have worked, at least for the present. The demonstrations, the most serious ever to face Chun's government, died down almost immediately after the eight-point concession announcement.
Moderate students' apprehensions grow out of general feelings that the Chun government is a dictatorship and therefore by nature cannot do anything against its own interests.
Radical students agree but argue that even if the concessions were implemented, they would fail to address student demands for such issues as economic restructuring and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea.
With many members of the public apparently feeling the battle has been won, students are wondering how to resume their fight without dissipating the respect they acquired for helping to wring the concessions from Chun.
"If we go and throw firebombs, people will think we are crazy," said a Yonsei student. "What we need to do is go out and tell people the eight points are not enough."
At Yonsei today, students tried to restore some of the spirit of the three weeks of protest. Some of them drew applause as they streamed into the amphitheater with arms locked together demonstration-style, singing political songs or chanting slogans.
In general, the mood was lighter than it was during the demonstrations, with people laughing frequently at speakers' jokes.
Park Chan Jong of the opposition Reunification Democratic Party drew applause with his praise for the protests, which began on June 10, the day the ruling party nominated Roh Tae Woo for president.
"The change is a victory of the people's democratic movement," Park said. "The generation of the June 10 movement will be the leaders of a future democratic government."