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#627: Haitians mark anniversary of bloody coup (fwd)


Haitians mark anniversary of bloody coup  08:47 p.m Sep 30, 1999 Eastern 
By Jennifer Bauduy 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Thousands of  people danced and sang
in Haiti's central square on Thursday on the anniversary of a military
coup, shouting for the return of  their first freely-elected leader to
the presidency.   The crowd danced around two trucks stacked with
speakers  blasting carnival music and shouted slogans in favour of
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a fiery one-time priest ousted
in 1991 and restored by U.S. troops three years later. ``Without us
there is no power. With Titid we will make the  Lavalas,'' one speaker
shouted from on top of a truck. Lavalas (''the Flood'') was the name of
the popular movement that swept Aristide, known as ``Titid,'' to power
in 1991. ``My sister was killed during the coup. My mother's sick, and
my other sister isn't in school. I am the only one supporting them,''
said Sylvain Matel, 23, who came to the rally on a bus  he said was
provided by Aristide's foundation. Aristide, Haiti's most popular
politician, was barred by the constitution from seeking a second
consecutive term in 1995.He has said he will run for president in
December 2000.  More than 5,000 people were killed by the army and the 
paramilitary group known as the Front for the Advancement and Progress
of Haiti (FRAPH) in the three years of the coup. In September 1994, the
United States led a force of 20,000 foreign troops to put down the army
regime, stop a flood of Haitian refugees to Florida, and restore
Aristide to power.  A human rights group celebrated a mass a few blocks
from the rally, then marched to the U.S. embassy, where cement blocks  
closed off the street in anticipation of the protest.  Members of the
group demanded the return of 160,000 pages of documents that American
soldiers seized from coup  supporters after the invasion, the subject of
a lingering dispute between Haiti and the U.S. government. Washington
has offered to return the documents with the names of American citizens
blocked out, but Haiti has refused to accept the documents, considered
crucial for bringing coup  criminals to justice, in an altered form.   
Minister of Justice Camille Leblanc announced Thursday that an       
indictment had been handed down against 57 people in connection with
perhaps the coup's most notorious killing incident, the 1994 massacre of
a dozen villagers at Raboteau. The entire military high command -- all
now in exile -- including coup leaders Gen. Raoul Cedras, Gen. Phillipe
Biamby, Port-au-Prince police chief Michel Francois and FRAPH leader 
Emmanuel ``Toto'' Constant were among those indicted. No date was set
for the trial.