March 25, 2000
Thousands commemorate 20th anniversary of El Salvordan bishop's slaying

                  SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) -- Thousands of Catholics gathered in the El
                  Salvadoran capital to honor an archbishop slain 20 years ago after delivering a sermon
                  criticizing military abuses at the beginning of the country's civil war.

                  Memorials Friday commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Archbishop
                  Oscar Arnulfo Romero began with a Mass in the small chapel of a cancer hospital west
                  of San Salvador, where on March 24, 1980, Romero was shot in the heart by a sniper.

                  A day before his death, Romero had delivered a sermon asking the military to halt its
                  repressive tactics.

                  Mourners carrying banners and singing religious hymns marched to the metropolitan
                  cathedral, where Romero's remains are buried in a special crypt.

                  In 1993, a truth commission said there was evidence Romero's killing was ordered by
                  former army major and rightist politician Roberto D'Abuisson, who died of cancer in
                  1992 and was never formally charged.

                  The government and leftist guerrillas signed a peace agreement in 1992 to end the
                  12-year civil war, which left 76,000 people dead.

                   Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.