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17992: (hermantin)Miami-Herald-Port-au-Prince march broken up (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Posted on Sat, Jan. 17, 2004

Port-au-Prince march broken up

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Violence came within sight of Haiti's presidential palace
Friday as police fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse antigovernment
demonstrators approaching with the coffin of a compatriot shot dead last

At least six people sustained minor injuries during the clash, most of them
hurt by rocks hurled or shots fired by supporters of President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, The Associated Press reported.

The protesters advanced on the National Palace carrying a coffin with the
body of Maxime Deselmour, 33, of Jacmel, a recent college graduate shot in
the neck Jan. 7 during a student-led protest. Pro-government thugs roamed
the streets that day armed with rifles, handguns and other weapons and
attacked the largely peaceful anti-Aristide crowds.

Aristide later said some protesters were also responsible for acts of
violence, beating government loyalists. Aristide said he condemns the
violence on all sides.

During Friday's march police set up barricades and fired tear gas to
disperse anti-Aristide demonstrators. Aristide supporters later gathered at
the palace to prevent demonstrators from reaching the building.

The barricades were allegedly mounted in response to statements attributed
to Dany Toussaint, a former Aristide supporter, who reportedly had said that
between 150,000 and 200,000 anti-Aristide demonstrators would storm the
palace on Friday.

Toussaint took to the airwaves Friday to say his statements were twisted. He
said he told a Haitian radio station in Miami that that number of protesters
would march to the palace. Tousssaint said he had said nothing about
storming the building.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press also reported that Aristide would not attend
a meeting with members of Caribbean Community in the Bahamas next week but
would meet only with opposition and civil society groups. Aristide will meet
with the organization at a later date.

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