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17828: (Hermantin)Miami-Herald-Hundreds rally against Aristide (fwd)



From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Posted on Sat, Jan. 10, 2004

RALLY | FORT LAUDERDALE
Hundreds rally against Aristide
Protesters say they wanted to show support for Jean-Bertrand Aristide's
ouster and help put an end to mistreatment of Haiti's opposition groups.
By KEVIN DEUTSCH
kdeutsch@herald.com

More than 300 opponents of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
protested Friday in front of the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale,
screaming chants, blasting horns, and waving signs comparing Aristide to
former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The protest came two days after armed supporters of Aristide in Haiti fired
at anti-government demonstrators in a day of violence that left at least two
dead and 30 injured in Port Au Prince.

The Fort Lauderdale protesters Friday said they wanted to show support for
Aristide's ouster and help put an end to mistreatment of Haiti's opposition
groups.

''He's worst than Duvalier,'' said Jil Pierre, 47, of Fort Lauderdale. ``
With him in charge, there will be no future for Haiti.''

The rally came eight days after Haiti celebrated 200 years of independence
from France.

''Independence is worth nothing with Aristide in power,'' said Ghon Gaoul,
32, of Pompano Beach.

Aristide, a former Catholic priest, became Haiti's first democratically
elected president in 1990, but was toppled in a military coup the following
year.

In 1994, during President Clinton's first term, the U.S. military intervened
to sweep aside the dictatorship and reinstate Aristide. He was reelected in
2000 in a vote some observers and opposition groups claimed was tainted by
fraud.

Since then, Aristide has been accused of human rights abuses, including
crackdowns on student protests and opposition politics, and of driving the
Caribbean nation of 8 million people further into social and economic
poverty.

Several Fort Lauderdale protesters Friday held up signs that read ''Axis Of
Evil,'' under pictures of Aristide and Hussein.

A handful of Aristide supporters were at the rally, but remained quiet. Some
said they think Aristide should finish out his term, which ends in 2006.

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