[Homestead] Haiti, the twice duly elected 1990 and 2000 President that Bush drove from office
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Fri Oct 1 19:47:48 EDT 2004
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Violence by Aristide Supporters Breaks Out for Second Day in Haitian
Capital as Country Struggles to Recover From Storm
*By Stevenson Jacobs* Associated Press Writer
Published: Oct 1, 2004
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Violence erupted again Friday in the
Haitian capital, a day after three policemen were killed in a clash with
protesters demanding the return of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Demonstrators who appeared to be Aristide supporters fired in the air,
blocked a highway with burning tires and smashed car windows in the
Martissant neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, witnesses said.
In the sprawling seaside slum of Cite Soleil, a gunman told a reporter
two street gangs loyal to Aristide were shooting it out, and one gang
leader was killed overnight.
Tensions have exploded in Haiti as the country struggles to recover from
floods caused by Tropical Storm Jeanne almost two weeks ago. The storm
killed more than 1,550 and left 900 missing, most of them presumed dead.
Almost all the victims were in the northwestern city of Gonaives.
The storm's aftermath has tied up some 750 of the 3,000 U.N. troops in
On Thursday, demonstrators in Port-au-Prince shot and killed three
police officers, and were believed to have kidnapped a fourth, Justice
Minister Bernard Gousse said.
The violence erupted during a march by supporters of Aristide, now in
exile in South Africa, to commemorate the 13th anniversary of his 1991
ouster by Haiti's army.
Thousands of slum dwellers wound through downtown Port-au-Prince
carrying photos of Aristide and chanting "Like it or not, Aristide will
Some shouted "Down with Bush!" and demanded an end to "the occupation"
and "the invasion" by foreign troops - referring to the U.S.-led force
that followed Aristide's ouster and the U.N. peacekeepers who took over
Protesters passed through a plaza in front of the National Palace and
were a few blocks away when shots rang out.
Aristide has accused U.S. agents of kidnapping him when he was flown out
of Haiti on a U.S.-chartered jet Feb. 29. The U.S. government insists
Aristide left of his own free will.
Aristide, a former priest who promised to help the poor, became Haiti's
first freely elected president in 1990. He was ousted within months by
the army, restored to power by U.S. troops in 1994, then forced to step
down by U.S. pressure and a term limit. But he was re-elected in 2000.
In February, a street gang in Gonaives known as the Cannibal Army rose
up against Aristide, sparking a rebellion joined by soldiers from the
army that Aristide disbanded in 1995.
U.S. troops arrived as Aristide left but did little to disarm rebels,
who are demanding the reinstatement of the army and have friendly
relations with the U.S.-installed interim government.
Friday's violence came as the hungry and some of the 200,000 homeless in
Gonaives were growing impatient with the slow pace of relief efforts.
Hungry residents have repeatedly mobbed relief trucks and looted supplies.
Many people have been attacked by armed gangs who steal the food once
they leave the distribution points guarded by U.N. peacekeepers, said
Elizabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
World Food program spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume said another
problem was getting food that people do not need to cook because there
is no running water in the city. She said they were distributing energy
biscuits and canned fish.
The World Lutheran Foundation said it was transporting 500 buckets of
rice, beans, spaghetti and milk power to Gonaives on Friday, along with
buckets of water.
Associated Press reporters Amy Bracken in Gonaives, Regine Alexandre in
Port-au-Prince and Michael Norton in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed
to this report.
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