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17056: (Chamberlain) Haiti-Protest (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>


   PORT-AU-PRINCE, 26 Oct 03 (AP) -- Anti-government protesters loyal to a
slain gang leader attacked a western Haiti police station, and gunfire
killed a girl on her bicycle and wounded the police chief and two officers,
a government spokesman said Sunday.
   Followers of slain strongman Amiot Metayer launched Saturday night's
surprise attack, government spokesman Mario Dupuy said.
   As the siege carried on into Sunday, a girl riding a bicycle nearby was
hit by a stray bullet and killed, Dupuy said. No arrests were reported.
   The attack was the latest in more than four weeks of upheaval in
Gonaives that started when Metayer's bullet-riddled body was found Sept.
   His followers, once loyal to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, have
accused the government of involvement in the killing, saying the strongman
had damaging information on the president.
   The government denied involvement, and Aristide refused demands that he
   The protests left at least 10 people dead and 34 injured with bullet
wounds in Gonaives. Dupuy said the police station raid was led by fugitive
Jean Tatoune, one of 150 inmates who escaped when Metayer's followers drove
a tractor through the prison walls to free their leader in August.
   Meanwhile, in Haiti's second-largest city of Cap-Haitien, Aristide
partisans set up flaming tire barricades Friday night to block opposition
supporters from entering the northern city and force an opposition alliance
to cancel its protest Sunday.
   The North District Front -- composed of opposition parties and citizens
groups -- planned to hold the march as opposition leaders ended three days
of strategy talks.
   The opposition, which claims the last elections in 2000 were rigged, has
refused to participate until the government meets its demands to disarm its
partisans and reform the police.