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Turmoil In Romania : Snipers, Driver Take Toll in a Border Town

From Reuters

Blood stained the steps of the church of this border town in the southern Romanian farmlands on Sunday.

Snipers, presumed to be die-hard supporters of deposed dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, settled themselves in the church steeple Saturday evening and began picking people off.

A lieutenant and a soldier were killed before the army managed to dislodge the three men. One sniper was shot to death and the other two were captured.

As a crowd of anti-Ceausescu demonstrators gathered in front of the gates of the bullet-riddled Basilica Adormirea, a truck plowed into them, killing six people and injuring 12.

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The driver may have been drunk, but some people were convinced he wanted to wipe out the dissenters.

The tiny intensive-care ward of the hospital was packed. Several small boys were among those badly hurt.

“Here you have the real face of communism,” said chief surgeon Eugen Savulescu, his shoes stained with blood as he worked among the wounded.

“It was carnage. This is impossible in a civilized world,” said hospital director Ion Munteanu, waving at the body of Lt. Isaiah Petrosan, whose boots stuck out from the bottom of a bloody sheet.

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The officer was felled by a rifle shot, Munteanu said.

Revolutionary forces appeared in full control of the town Sunday morning when a Bulgarian convoy carrying food and medical supplies collected by Sofia University students rolled through.

Soldiers with aging automatic weapons fraternized with the people. Senior customs officers, border guards and police all sported the yellow, red and blue armband of the liberation movement.

A Romanian army captain at the crossing point from Ruse, Bulgaria, provided an escort for the 16-vehicle convoy.

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“It is for freedom,” he said, waving the convoy through with few formalities.

Along the 35-mile road to Bucharest, trucks flew the national flag with its central Communist emblem cut out.

Young and old clustered by the roadside, arms raised in victory salutes.

But six miles from the capital, roadblocks had been set up and the air of joy gave way to one of trepidation.

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