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SEOUL, South Korea — Violent labor demonstrations rocked South Korea on Wednesday, with workers clashing with riot police in three cities to protest lawsuits brought by employers that they claimed had driven some union leaders to suicide.

Hundreds of workers hurled stones at riot police in downtown Seoul, while national news agency Yonhap said that in the central city of Daegu, 1,200 workers clashed with police and several protesters were taken to the hospital with head injuries.

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Yonhap also reported a violent street clash in the southern city of Busan, involving 2,000 workers who wielded metal pipes and threw rocks.

It was the worst outburst of labor unrest in recent months, coming despite government promises of new legislation to make it more difficult for employers to sue labor unions for financial damages caused by illegal strikes.

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