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ROMANIA BANS COMMUNIST PARTY

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Interim President Ion Iliescu told thousands of anti-communist demonstrators Friday that Romania's Communist Party has been outlawed.

"Victory, Victory!" shouted the crowd of 5,000 after Iliescu's announcement. "The Front is with us!" they yelled, referring to the National Salvation Front, the country's interim leadership.Iliescu's announcement was broadcast live on state radio and television.

The announcement came hours after the crowd had shouted down Iliescu and other leaders who tried to speak. Demonstrators yelled "Down with communism! Kill the communists!" They burned a Romanian communist flag and communist identification papers.

Friday was a national day of mourning, with religious ceremonies held across the country in memory of the victims of the violent revolution that toppled Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu three weeks ago.

Iliescu, himself a former communist, made the announcement from the window of the building where the interim government has its headquarters on the Victoria Square.

"The Romanian Communist Party is outlawed, considering that it is against the national spirit and our ancestors' law," he said.

Iliescu however did not say what the decision would mean for current members of the party. Much of Romania's new leadership is composed of communists.

Before the communists took power in 1948, Romania was ruled by a constitutional monarchy.

Romania's newly appointed General Prosecutor Gheorghe Robu told Romanian TV Friday all leading members of the Romanian Communist Party were under arrest, and their role in the Ceausescu regime was under investigation.

He said the trials would begin within 10 days.

He said Ceausescu's children and brothers, who were arrested in the first days of the revolt, would be brought to trial soon.

The daily Romania Libera carried an appeal Friday from Communist Party members calling on "all the honest members" to burn their party cards "at places where martyrs of the revolution died, as a public condemnation of any idea of recreating a new Communist Party."