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17469: (Hermantin)Miami-Herald-Anti-Aristide rallies leave bystander dead (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Posted on Sat, Nov. 29, 2003

Anti-Aristide rallies leave bystander dead
Aristide partisans in Port-au-Prince throw rocks and splash protesters with
a poison-ivy cocktail meant to make people itch.
Associated Press


PORT-AU-PRINCE -- President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's partisans pelted
students with rocks and poison ivy-spiked water Friday as clashes at a
separate rally on Haiti's west coast killed at least one person.

Government opponents clashed with police in the west coast town of Gonaives
on Friday when shots broke out and a bystander was killed.

The opponents were gathering to mark the deaths of three students shot to
death by the Haitian army 18 years ago during an anti-government rally.

The uproar over the students' deaths sparked a movement that eventually led
to the ouster of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986.

It was unclear who shot the bystander Friday.

Meanwhile, in the capital of Port-au-Prince, at least four students were
hurt when Aristide partisans began throwing rocks and splashing them with
the poison-ivy cocktail meant to make people itch.

The students called for Aristide's resignation and the release of two
business leaders detained two weeks ago at an opposition rally.

''We say down with Aristide's repressive regime and demand the unconditional
release of political prisoners,'' said Herve Saintilus, leader of the
Federation of Haitian University Students, who said he was struck on the
wrist by a police officer wielding a club.


Saintilus blamed the police for not securing the demonstration.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

Tensions have grown in Haiti since flawed 2000 legislative elections that
the opposition charged were rigged. In two months, clashes during
anti-government protests have left at least 16 dead and scores wounded.

The severed head of an unidentified man was discovered Tuesday on a heap of
garbage near the central plaza. Surrounding the head were leaflets
threatening some 70 opposition figures and journalists.

''The regime has regressed to the lowest level of barbarity,'' said Haitian
novelist Gary Victor, whose name was on the list.

Businessmen David Apaid and Charles Henry Baker were arrested on Nov. 14
when government supporters penned members of the civil society coalition
known as ''the 184'' into a corner of the downtown central plaza where a
rally was to be held, insulting them, pelting them with rocks, and
proclaiming their fidelity to Aristide.

The rally, held to present the coalition's proposals for sweeping changes in
the Caribbean nation, ended with police firing pepper gas.

No Aristide partisans were arrested, while 25 coalition members were
detained when police found three handguns in a vehicle owned by Baker.


The opposition refuses to participate in legislative elections proposed for
this year and is demanding Aristide resign.

Aristide says he will serve out his term, which ends in 2006, and has
defended his government, saying its efforts to ensure security and progress
have been blocked because of the political opposition and a shortage of
international aid.

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