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#206: Protests Again in Haitian Capital (fwd)


Protests Again in Haitian Capital 
By Michael Norton Associated Press Writer
Friday, August 6, 1999; 3:35 p.m. EDT

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Demonstrators blocked traffic with    
burning tires and pelted cars with stones Friday in a second day of  
protests against Haiti's government. The protest ended quickly, however,
when police removed the barricades and dispersed the crowd. Shops opened
for business as usual. The demonstrators -- allied with former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide -- stepped up their violence after failing to win
support for a two-day ``general strike.'' They smashed car windows and
burned two vehicles in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The Aristide
supporters demanded that President Rene Preval fire several government
and police officials. They have also said Preval backed down on promises
to appoint grassroots militants to government posts, and have        
accused the police of being soft on crime. Police officials said the
protesters were trying to destabilize Haiti before local and legislative
elections this fall. Aristide supporters have said they oppose a photo
identity card that  Haitian voters must use for the first time this
year. They claim the card requirement is an impractical novelty that
will end up excluding many Haitians from the electoral process. The U.S.
Agency for International Development has agreed to finance the     
cards.  Protest leader Paul Raymond promised ``a whole series of other
actions.''  Raymond heads the Coordination of St. Jean Bosco Popular
Organizations, one of 31 pro-Aristide groups that called the strike.