Leftist militants have seized a Roman Catholic Church in San Salvador, capital of the troubled Central American country of El Salvador.
Leftist militants have seized a Roman Catholic Church in San Salvador, capital of the troubled Central American country of El Salvador. It is the first takeover since the military government imposed a state of seige here last week. The group indicated that it plans to occupy the church indefinitely. There has been no reaction from the government which has recently faced an increasing wave of violence.
SYNOPSIS: Members of the United Front of Popular Action occupied the church on Monday (28 May). The occupation is regarded as a gesture of solidarity with the Popular Revolutionary Bloc (BPR) presently holding the French and Venezuelan Embassies, and as a protest against the killings outside the Metropolitan Cathedral earlier in May. The Popular Revolutionary Bloc, a coalition of labour, peasant and student groups, had seized a number of embassies and churches to demand the release of jailed comrades. AT least nineteen people were killed and forty injured in clashes between security forces and supporters of the rebels.
Most of the churches were vacated after the government imposed a state of seige last Friday (24 May) and threatened to call in troops to evict the dissidents. The state of seige, a measure just short of martial law, was declared after the assassination of Education Minister, Carlos Humberto Romero. There has been a spate of assassinations and kidnappings since a guerrilla group issued a communique two weeks ago declaring "War on Diplomatic Immunity". Last week (23 May) the El Salvadore Education Minister and his driven were killed as they drove to work. And the Swiss Charge d'affairs Hugo Weys was shot dead in an ambush on Wednesday (30 May). No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the shooting. Foreign diplomats have now demanded more protection from El Salvador authorities.