At least 17 people are reported to have died in two days of clashes between left-wing militants and security forces in the central American republic of El Salvador.
GV TILT DOWN: Education Ministry building with banners hanging out of windows TO people outside.
SV: Students symbol on wall behind group of students, with one student speaking to news representatives (2 shots)
SV: Education Minister Sr. Eduardo Colindres signing agreement with students.
GV: Students and hostages living building to shouts and cheers from crowd
GV PAN: Students march from ministry building through streets.
GV: Car being turned over in street
GV: Truck carrying troops going along road
SV PAN FROM: Soldier holding gun in firing position TO dead bodies.
SV: Armed troops in street. (2 shots)
SV: Troops in street TILT DOWN TO dead body
GV: Armed troops running along footpath
SV PAN FROM: Dead body TO streamer
GV PAN FROM: Dead body TO armoured vehicles driving down road
GV: Soldiers carrying dead soldiers from street
SV: Man checking dead body
SV PAN: Ambulance arrives and body of girl is put onto stretcher. (2 shots)
GV TILT DOWN FROM: Christian Democrats Building TO captured militants lying face down on ground (2 shots)
SV: Released hostages being helped from armoured vehicles onto street
SCU PAN: Dead students inside Christian Democrats Building. (2 shots)
GV: Militants ordered into cattle truck
CU PULL BACK TO SV: Militants lying face down on top of each other in wagon.
GV: Truck drives off with militants
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Background: At least 17 people are reported to have died in two days of clashes between left-wing militants and security forces in the central American republic of El Salvador. Ten people were killed in the capital San Salvador on Tuesday (12 February) when police stormed the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Party which had been occupied by members of the Popular League of February 28 (LP-28) since January 28. But the occupation of the Education Ministry building is San Salvador ended peacefully with the release of 12 hostages including the Education Minister, Eduardo Colindres.
SYNOPSIS: Members of the Salvadorean Revolutionary Student Movement took over the Education Ministry on February 5 and made a number of demands including the abolition of school entrance exams. Their hostages were released after the education minister signed an agreement on behalf of the government to drop the exams.
The students left the building peacefully to a welcome from their supporters. A police spokesman said the 12 hostages appeared in good health when they were released. The students originally took 400 captives but all but 12 had already been freed.
A march through the streets of San Salvador followed, celebration a peaceful end to the siege. In reaction to the recent unrest in the country, teachers throughout El Salvador were expected to begin a two-day strike on Thursday (14 February)
Although the Education Ministry siege ended peacefully, members of the student movement and other anti-government militants clashed with police a few hours later near the Guatemalan Embassy and police said at least three people were killed and 11 wounded. Security forces were rushed to the area when the demonstrators started burning buses and cars near the embassy. Witnesses said shooting lasted for half an hour and later in the evening sporadic gunfire was heard in parts of the capital.
Diplomatic missions in San Salvador are reducing their staff or moving out because they fear a civil war might break out between right and left-wing extremists. LP-28 militants are still (14 February) holding five hostages at the Spanish embassy to support their demands for the release of five imprisoned colleagues and on Wednesday (13 February) League members seized the Panamanian embassy taking the Ambassador and two other staff members as hostages. The unrest stems from the leftist movement's dissatisfaction with the civilian-military junta's proposed reforms for the country.
The occupation of another building in San Salvador, the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Party, ended in a bloody gun battle when police stormed inside. Police said they decided to attack after members of the LP-28 group, who invaded it on January, 28, opened fire and killed a policeman in front of the building. The militants resisted and five of them were killed in the battle.
The 12 hostages inside the building, including the wife of the Education Minister, escaped unhurt. Police rounded up the militants outside the party headquarters and ordered them to lie face down in the back of trucks, to be taken into custody. The battle also claimed the life of a passersby and 23 people including policemen and LP-28 members, were wounded.