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17770: (Chamberlain) Two killed in new Haiti demonstrations (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan 7 (Reuters) - At least two people were
killed on Wednesday when supporters of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide clashed with demonstrators calling for his ouster in the second
mass street protests of the year, witnesses said.
They said thousands of demonstrators, accusing the former priest and
his government of corruption and of trampling on democracy, took to the
streets in Port-au-Prince to be met by Aristide supporters who fired guns
and threw bottles and rocks.
Some armed men raided markets to steal money from the registers and
guns from security guards. At least one pedestrian was shot and killed.
Several others were wounded by rocks or bullets, including one who was shot
in the back, the witnesses said.
They said one of the gunmen, sitting in the back of a Jeep carrying
pro-government stickers, was shot dead by a police officer.
In recent months Haiti has experienced repeated clashes between
backers and supporters of Aristide. The Jan. 1 bicentennial celebrations of
Haiti's freedom from French rule as the world's first black republic were
marred by violence.
Aristide became Haiti's first democratically elected leader but was
deposed in a bloody 1991 coup.
He was restored to power in the poorest country in the Americas by a
U.S.-led invasion in 1994. He was elected to a second term in 2000 but has
been at odds with opposition parties and international donors over the
tainted results of parliamentary elections that year.
Most of the anti-government demonstrations in recent months have been
organized by students, or by a coalition of opposition political parties,
businesses, non-profit organizations and other associations.