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#437: Grenade attack damages Haitian chamber of commerce (fwd)


Grenade attack damages Haitian chamber of commerce 
01:44 p.m Sep 06, 1999 Eastern 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Sept 6 (Reuters) - A building wall wasdamaged and a
security guard narrowly escaped injury when someone threw a grenade at
the headquarters of a politically  active Haitian business group, group
members said on Monday.``This is more than a threat, it is a clear act
of aggression,'' Max Antoine, general director of the Haitian Chamber of
Commerce,said. Police had made no arrests by Monday for the attack,
which took place on Saturday night.  The security guard said he had seen
a car driving up and down the block where the building is located for
about 30 minutes  before it stopped to allow one of its occupants to lob
the  grenade over the building's gate. The motive for the attack was not
immediately clear. Haiti has seen an increase in political violence in
recent months as it has prepared for its first elections in two and a
half years, legislative and municipal balloting expected to take place
in December or January. The Chamber of Commerce recently announced that
it would  fund candidates in the elections. ``It is a civic right.
Businessmen have always financed the candidates of their choice. We
don't think this would have  provoked a violent reaction from anyone,''
Antoine said.  On Friday the Chamber of Commerce released a press     
statement protesting increasing crime, following several attacks       
on entrepreneurs in the capital, and the killing of prominent        
businessman Roland Decatrel last Tuesday. The Chamber of Commerce also
organised a peace rally on May 28, which was cut short by
counter-demonstrators shouting slogans in support of former President
Jean-Bertrand   Aristide, threw rocks and plastic bottles filled with