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17518: (Chamberlain) Students hurt during protest in Haitian capital (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

     PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 5 (Reuters) - About a dozen university students
were wounded by rocks and bullets on Friday when they gathered at the
National University of Haiti to call for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's
resignation, witnesses say.
     Some 300 students had planned to march from the university but decided
to stay within the school's gates when confronted by a group of at least
100 the president's supporters, some armed with rocks, guns and batons,
witnesses said.
     Aristide and opposition parties have been at odds for years over
results of tainted parliamentary elections in May 2000. The political
stalemate has foiled attempts to hold elections this year in Haiti, the
poorest country in the Americas.
     The capital has been struck in recent weeks by a series of
anti-Aristide demonstrations that turned violent. Aristide's opponents have
accused his administration of corruption and suppressing dissent.
     Local journalists who witnessed Friday's violence said students called
for help from police and diplomats but the group outside the gate
eventually broke through a wall and stormed the school, beating up several
     Two university officials were among those hurt in the melee and the
counter-demonstrators smashed the windshields of more than a dozen cars,
witnesses said.
     Roudy Bertholomieux, Haitian National Police director for the Western
department, said following the incident that police had intervened to
protect the students and had arrested about a dozen people.