Students in Taegu and Seoul staged campus rallies and demonstrations in September 1979. In mid-October, students in Pusan poured into the streets and clashed with police, leading the government to declare martial law in that city. In late October, students in Masan launched a demonstration; the government placed the city under "garrison decree." The army took over the responsibility for public order.
Close Park associates such as Kim Chong-p'il were reported to have counseled the president to meet some of the student demands and reduce repression, but were opposed by presidential security chief Ch'a Chi-ch'ol. Ch'a also sharply disagreed with Kim Chae-gyu, the director of the KCIA, who had counseled moderation in the government's handling of the student protesters. On October 26, 1979, the nation's most powerful figures, Park, Ch'a, and Kim Chae-gyu, met in a KCIA safe house restaurant for dinner to discuss, among other things, the Pusan situation. In the sharply divided discussion that followed, Kim gunned down Park, Ch'a, and their bodyguards.