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Park unable to bridge country's growing divides

Labor union and civic group members clashed with police in central Seoul on Nov. 14.

SEOUL -- Tensions are rising in South Korea as the government's uncompromising stance fuels conflict in an increasingly divided society. The situation could get worse as the country braces for a highly charged general election in April.

     A battle is being waged over the Gwanghwamun Plaza, a popular gathering place in the heart of the South Korean capital. The central government wants to erect a permanent structure to fly the national flag in the plaza. But the city government, which has jurisdiction over the area, is fiercely opposed to the "totalitarian" plan.

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