[Marxism] BBC: 4 killed at Port-au-Prince march
cdbrady at sbcglobal.net
Sun Mar 7 16:25:37 MST 2004
Gunmen shoot dead Haiti marchers
At least four people have been killed at a march in Haiti staged by
thousands of opponents of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
BBC, Sunday, March 07, 2004
Gunmen opened fire on a crowd of 10,000 people that had gathered in the
capital, Port-au-Prince, to celebrate Mr Aristide's downfall.
Witnesses blamed militiamen supporting Mr Aristide for the shooting.
US and French troops had been at the march, in an effort to prevent
clashes between the two groups.
The BBC's Daniel Lak in Port-au-Prince says there had been a festive
atmosphere before the trouble broke out.
Crowds packed into the city's central square were dancing to the music
of a disc jockey banned under President Aristide when shots rang out and
panic struck, he says.
Witnesses said pro-Aristide gunmen known as Chimeres had come out of
the slums around the square and opened fire from the top of a hill.
A Spanish television journalist was reported to be among those killed.
At least 20 people were also said to be injured - among them other
Hospitals sent out appeals for blood donations and medical staff to
cope with the casualties.
Witnesses criticised US-led troops for failing to prevent the violence.
"The peacekeepers were nowhere near where the shooting was," an injured
man told the Associated Press news agency.
One man speaking over a truck loudspeaker told US marines: "People are
dying every day in this country. You have to do something about it."
The 2,500 French and US peacekeepers - who have arrived in Haiti in
recent days - had restored order in central Port-au-Prince but have
avoided outlying slums where Mr Aristide has many supporters.
Earlier, the pro-Aristide camp postponed a planned demonstration on
Sunday, saying it had been offered no protection.
One supporter told AP: "The Americans are only there to protect those
who helped oust Aristide."
The former president's supporters said their protest would now be held
Cheers and demands
Earlier in the day, the anti-Aristide crowds tore down a billboard
featuring the ousted president's face, carried it to the presidential
palace and set it on fire.
They also cheered when rebel leader Guy Philippe was hoisted onto
Some demonstrators demanded that the former president should be put on
"His people must also be tried for looting state coffers and murdering
civilians ," opposition leader Evans Paul said.
Opposition leaders have been pressing for the replacement of Prime
Minister Yvon Neptune, who has strong ties to the deposed president.
Meanwhile in the Central African Republic - where Mr Aristide went into
exile last Sunday - the government read out a statement from Mr
Aristide, saying he had been "very well received".
The former Haitian leader will speak directly to journalists at an
appropriate time, the statement added.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/03/07 23:07:49 GMT
© BBC MMIV
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