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#465: Aristide Supporters Rally in Haiti (fwd)


Saturday September 11 9:45 PM ET 
Aristide Supporters Rally in Haiti
By MICHAEL NORTON Associated Press Writer 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Eleven years after thugs burned down the
church where former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide once preached,
hundreds commemorated the anniversary Saturday and clamored for his
re-election. The peaceful rally took place in downtown Port-Au-Prince,
amid the ruins of St. Jean Bosco Catholic church.It was at that church
in 1988 that army-backed thugs interrupted a mass celebrated by
Aristide, who was a priest before he became president. They shot and
hacked to death at least 12 worshippers and set the building on fire.
Aristide, dressed in black, made a brief appearance at Saturday's
commemoration. He saluted the crowd, but said nothing.Photos of victims
were pasted to the charred walls of the church, which has never been
rebuilt. None of the perpetrators of the St. Jean Bosco massacre were
ever brought to trial.Since mid-April - when an Aristide partisan was
shot and killed in an altercation - sporadic, sometimes vandalistic,
pro-Aristide street demonstrations have wracked the capital.Aristide,
Haiti's first freely elected president, served for a year until he was
ousted by the army in September 1991. U.S. troops restored him to power
in September 1994.He stepped down in February 1996, when his successor
and disciple, current President Rene Preval, was inaugurated. Preval
briefly visited St. Jean Bosco church early Saturday morning.The United
States has pledged $10 million to $15 million to help Haiti hold local
and legislative elections at the end of the year.