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Police, civil war veterans clash in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Salvadorean police Wednesday clashed with civil war veterans, who blocked the main roads to the capital of San Salvador.

Elvis Cisneros, riot police unit chief, said at least four officers and more than 10 protesters and pedestrians were injured.

Several protesters were arrested in the clash, Cisneros said.

The police negotiated with the protesters for hours before they decided to dismantle the roadblocks, he said.

The war veterans, coming from both the army and the now-defunct Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) guerrilla group, blocked access to the city while some marched in groups in the city to protest the refusal of Congress to discuss a proposed pension bill and approve a compensation package.

The veterans, demobilized after the 1979-92 civil war, are demanding a regular pension plus 5,000 U.S. dollars in compensation.

President Mauricio Funes, who is associated with the FMLN party, said public coffers could not support life-long pensions for more than 80,000 veterans.

He announced an agreement in March last year with former guerrilla members older than 70, who called for a symbolic monthly pension of 50 dollars.

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