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May 15, 1979 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-15

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Page 12-Tuesday, May 15, 1979-The Michigan Daily

Left-wing mitants in
El Salvador seize
churches, hostages
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) guerrilla groups also are trying to over-
- Supporters of left-wing militants throw Romero.
holding hostages in two embassies and Bloc members seized San Salvador's
occupying San Salvador's cathedral downtown cathedral and the French
seized three other churches yesterday and Costa Rican embassies May 4,
and stopped work in 14 factories, a demanding the leaders' release.
spokesperson reported. HOSTAGES HELD in the Costa
The spokesperson for the Popular Rican Embassy escaped yesterday,
Revolutionary Bloc, an organization of and the militants inside were given safe
workers and peasants demanding passage to Panama. The next day,
social reforms, said groups of bloc police opened fire on a pro-bloc demon-
members barricaded themselves inside stration outside the cathedral, killing or
Roman Catholic churches in Suchitoto, mortally wounding 24 persons.
Apopa and Aguilares, three towns near On Friday, the Romero regime
San Salvador. released two bloc leaders in an effort to
WORKERS AT 14 small factories in defuse the violence and claimed the
the capital struck for four hours, and a other three were not held. Later that
union leader said the job action was day the group seized the Venezuelan
called to support the Bloc's demands Embassy and took four hostages, in-
for the release of three leaders it claims cluding the ambassador.
are still in jail. The government says At the French embassy, six hostages
they are not being held and it does not still are held.
know where they are. ARMED POLICE have sealed off the
The bloc, which claims a member- areas around both embassies and the
ship of 30,000 students, peasants, cathedral, but food and some visitors
workers and intellectuals, is the largest are being allowed in.
of half a dozen leftist groups seeking the Both foreign governments said they
ouster of Gen. Carlos Romero's have sent special emissaries to
military-backed regime. Three negotiate a solution.

Members of the Popular Revolutionary Block in San Salvador raise their fists in
protest at a rally Sunday. A student was killed by police earlier in the week, and
bwut the incident

students were angry aesin ch e l i n n o
.Protesting children killed iceraAfcnnaion

.

PARIS (AP)-The imperial guard of
Emperor Bokassa I bayoneted, clubbed
and stoned to death as many as 10
children last month in the Central
African Empire because they protested
wearing uniforms to school, Amnesty
International said yesterday.
The Paris section of the London-
based human rights organization said
the children, aged 8 to 16, were rounded
up in the capital city of Bangui on April
18 and taken to the central Ngarangba
Prison to be punished.
THE AMNESTY International report
said the children had thrown stones at
official cars, including Bokassa's.
GET COOL
FOR
THE SUMMER
U-M Stylists
Dave & Chet
at the UNION

Amnesty International, which won
the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its
work on the plight of political prisoners,
cited "numerous, varied and reliable
sources, both African and European"
for its report on the slayings but would
not identify the sources further.
Officials at the Central African Em-
pire's embassy in Paris refused com-
ment, and efforts to reach government
leaders in Bangui by telephone were
unsuccessful. Operators said the few in-
ternatonal telephone links to the coun-
try were booked for at least 24 hours.
AMNESTY SAID Bokassa's guards
swept through the Bangui neigh-
borhoods of Malimaka, Boy-Rabe, Zan-
de, and Nzakara and arrested several
hundred children.
"Some of the children were stoned by
the imperial guards to punish them for
having thrown stones at the imperial
car," Amnesty said.
"Others were stabbed with bayonets,
others died from blows by clubs con-
taining nails. Probably nearly 10
children were killed and buried in a
common grave during the night by the
guards," the report said.
THE ORGANIZATION said the
students were locked in small cells

sealed so tightly that about 20 of the
children suffocated.
Amnesty said one witness alone coun-
ted 62 bodies.
The next day, the 58-year-old
Bokassa, who describes himself as "the
father and protector of the children who
are the future of the country," announ-
ced he was going to free those still in
custody.
"IT APPEARS that in fact some were
released," Amnesty said.
Bangui youths have been restive sin-
ce January when the Ministry of
Education ordered students to begin
wearing the uniforms. The students
said they could not afford the new
clothes.
January's protests developed into
violence when university students
rioted in Bangui, damaging two fac-
tories and many shops around the
university. Sources in Paris, who asked
not to be named, estimate that between
50 and 100 persons were killed in those
disturbances.
THE HUMAN rights organization
said it has sent a telegram of protest to
the emperor and has brought the case

before the United Nations secretariat of
the International Year of the Child.
Travelers from the Central African
Empire, a former French colony of
234,000 square miles, say "a reign of
terror" has existed in Bangui since
January.
The country, a landlocked nation in
the heart of the African continent,
gained independence from France in
August 1960, when it became known as
the Central African Republic. Before
that it was known as the Ubangi-Shari
territory in colonial French Equatorial
Africa.
Its first president banned all political
parties and was ousted in a military
coup led by Bokassa in 1966. Then-Col.
Bokassa declared himself president
and dissolved the parliament. In sub-
sequent years he converted to Islam but
renounced the conversion to become
Emperor. He was crowned in Decem-
ber 1977 in a lavish ceremony modeled
after the coronation of the French Em-
peror Napolean in 1804. The festivities
surrounding the ceremony reportedly
cost an estimated $50 million, half the
national budget.

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