A least nine people were killed in a wave of bomb explosions in El Salvador on Sunday (20 January).
GV TILT DOWN: San Salvador basilica entrance with congregation leaving and being greeted by Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero (3 shots)
GV: Archbishop walks back into church
GV: Street scene PAN TO Metropolitan Cathedra; with banners outside. (2 shots)
GV: Occupiers distributing leaflets and collecting money. (3 shots)
GV TILT DOWN: El Rosario church covered in banners (3 shots)
SV: Statues covered in graffiti and man painting church walls. (2 shots)
GV AND SV: Occupiers handing out leaflets (3 shots)
GV: El Rosario church
GV AND SV: Workmen bricking up font of stores. (3 shots)
GV: Large store with concreted shop windows (2 shots)
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Background: A least nine people were killed in a wave of bomb explosions in El Salvador on Sunday (20 January). More than 30 churches were occupied byu political action groups led by the powerful Popular Revolutionary Bloc (BPR)--a coalition of peasants, workers and students. Four radio stations in the capital, San Salvador, were seized by leftist guerrillas. El Salvador has experienced much political dissent in recent months. There has been a wave of kidnapping, shootings, assassinations, unrest in the armed forces and the government, and an economic decline.
SYNOPSIS: San Salvador is the focus for the country's problems, and the capital's impressive basilica has increasingly become the centre for the government's critics. Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero believes the situation to be so explosive that civil war between the right and left, or insurrection, can only be avoided by radical reforms. Monsignor Romero's Sunday sermons on the need to share El Salvador's wealth draw thousands of people to the cathedral.
In another part of the city a group of workers seized the metropolitan cathedral on January 13. They are pressing for the reopening of closed factories. The occupiers say they intend to stay until their demands are met. Last May(1979) 24 people died on the steps of this church when police opened fire on demonstrators.
Church occupations have become a popular form of protest among many dissident groups in El Salvador. The left has tried to unify their opposition. In the first week of January three large groups--the Popular Forces of Liberation (EPL), the Armed Forces of National Resistance (FARN) and the Salvadorean Communist Party (PCS)--have signed a unity pact.
The new Revolutionary Unity's slogan is 'Revolution not Election'. They share a Marxist viewpoint, but until recently the groups were separated by the tactical question of when to act. Some advocated immediate revolution ,others supported a prolonged guerrilla war.
One section of San Salvador's community who were not taking any chances on which way the dissidents decided to continue their campaign are they city's storekeepers. In anticipation of trouble, many barricaded their shop fronts with bricks and timbers. And some of the larger stores even used concrete.