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#203: New protests in Haiti's capital (fwd)
New protests in Haiti's capital August 5, 1999
Web posted at: 1:28 PM EDT (1728 GMT)
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Activists protesting alleged government
corruption and police incompetence set fire to tire barricades Thursday
in the latest demonstration to hit Haiti's capital. Police quickly
removed the small barricades, scattered about several areas of
Port-au-Prince. Traffic was not disturbed, and businesses opened as
usual. Sporadic protests have hit Port-au-Prince since April, when a
community activist allied with former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
was killed in an altercation. Demonstrators claimed police killed the
man; police denied the charge. This is a warning strike," said Paul
Raymond of the Coordination of St. Jean Bosco Popular Organizations, one
of 31 groups participating in Thursday's protest. Raymond called on
President Rene Preval to fire top police and public administration
officials. Community leaders claim Preval hasn't fulfilled pledges to
replace government officials with grass-roots militants.
They also accuse police of being soft on crime. Police officials
counter that the street protests are an attempt to destabilize Haiti
before legislative and municipal elections can be held this fall.
Aristide partisans oppose a photo identity card that voters will use for
the first time this year. They claim it is an unfeasible novelty that
will exclude many Haitians from the electoral process. The U.S. Agency
for International Development has agreed to finance the cards.
Meanwhile, gunmen shot and killed three people in robberies Wednesday,
twoof them at a downtown exchange bank. The third, Jean-Robert Max-Max,
a U.S. citizen of Haitian origin, was killed in the seaside Cite Soleil
shantytown, police said Thursday. His assailant stole the motorcycle on
which he was riding. Max-Max's hometown wasn't immediately known.