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article imageMembers of Iron Maiden visit slain bishop's tomb

By John Sevigny     Mar 8, 2016 in World
In a city frequently called the homicide capital of the world, a legendary heavy metal band famous for singing about demons, murder, prostitutes and the violence of history visited the tomb of a martyred bishop who championed peace through Catholicism.
Two members of Iron Maiden were photographed in El Salvador yesterday visiting the tomb of martyred Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was struck down during a mass in 1980 at the start of the Salvadoran Civil war. The casually dressed rock stars — drummer Niko McBrain and guitarist Janick Gers — who played their first concert in the tiny country Sunday, appear in the photograph with another woman at the grave in a basement below the city's cathedral.
AFP reported that the concert, a rare treat in a country few bands visit, drew thousands of people to the Magico Gonzalez Stadium and that McBrain wore a T-shirt showing the face of Romero, who along with a number of other Salvadoran priests, was accused of being a Communist and killed for opposing government oppression and frequently siding with poor, marginalized sectors of the population.
Pope Francis officially declared Romero a martyr just a year ago and beatified him.
The band's Web site put the number of people who attended the concert at 25,000 and said it was the largest entertainment event in El Salvador's history.
“As a band we have always insisted on getting to new places to see our fans and we have to thank these amazing fans from here and across Central America for making us so welcome and the concert such a historical event," singer Bruce Dickinson said on the Iron Maiden Web site.
El Salvador is living through perhaps its roughest period in its history. The country, which is roughly the size of Massachusetts, reported 1,399 homicides for the first two months of 2016, according to Vice News and security analysts say the number is higher than that of people killed during the nation's 11-year civil war.
But José Napoleon Duarte, El Salvador's tourism minister, said even with rampant violence, the country can organize world class events such as Sunday's concert.
"El Salvador is a great country. I have no doubt that the members of Iron Maiden felt at home. This event demonstrated the ability of our country to attract and stage major world-class events in total safety,” he said.
The Latin American leg of Iron Maiden's tour to support the album, The Book of Souls, also includes Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.
More about Iron maiden, Oscar Romero, Martyr, Music, Heavy metal
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