Communist Pathet Lao forces on Tuesday (20 May) entered the Mekong River town of Savannakhet - the last key stronghold of the Laotian rightists.
SV PAN Children watching dragon dance (3 shots)
GV Tank entering Savannakhet with civilians & troops on board
SV Troops in trucks
SV Civilians singing on board lorry (2 shots)
SCU Civilians & soldier waving
SV Government troops lining street (2 shoots)
GV Garlanded officers
GV Government general making speech as garlanded Pathet Lao officers (2 shots)
Initials BJB/0145 BJB/0205
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Communist Pathet Lao forces on Tuesday (20 May) entered the Mekong River town of Savannakhet - the last key stronghold of the Laotian rightists.
Most of the town's 50,000 people were out in the streets to greet the Pathet Lao as they rumbled into town on tanks garlanded with flowers.
Some cheered wildly but most applauded politely or were silent.
The triumphal entry was organized by students who have virtually taken over the town, occupying administration buildings and confining six US Aid officials and their families to their homes.
The Pathet Lao said they entered the town to maintain security "in collaboration with the Vientiane side".
The Pathet Lao's entry into Savannakhet, 150 miles (240 kms.) south of Vientiane followed earlier moves into the town of Pakse in the south and Thakhek in the central region, and the effective collapse of the rightist position with the resignation of four of its representatives in the Government.