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7397: Agence France Presse - Violence in Haiti (fwd)

From: Jean Jean-Pierre <jean@acd-pc.com>

                       Copyright 2001 Agence France Presse
                             Agence France Presse

                   March 20, 2001, Tuesday 3:20 AM, Eastern Time

SECTION: Domestic, non-Washington, general news item

LENGTH: 327 words

HEADLINE: Violence continues for second day in Haiti


As Haiti's capital was overcome by violent demonstrations that spilled
over into areas outside the
city Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean-Marie Cherestal pressed for calm.

Cherestal urged people "not to succumb to panic" during the second
consecutive day of unrest, while
the justice and interior ministries issued a joint statement confirming
that protests were breaking out
at points throughout the capital and also in provincial towns.

Throughout the day on Monday, members of pro-government neighborhood
organizations organized
sometimes violent demonstrations, lobbing stones at passing motorists
and erecting roadblocks made
of rocks and burning tires.

The demonstrators -- supporters of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide -- were calling for the
arrest of Gerard Gourgue, the veteran politician and human-rights
activist whom the opposition
Democratic Convergence Party named last month as its own "provisional
president," to head a
shadow government representing repudiation of Aristide's second term.

The demonstrations continued Tuesday, with more flaming tire barricades
in several districts --
including downtown Port-au-Prince and Petionville to the southeast --
and continued rock throwing
in the early morning hours near the Petionville market.

Haitian politics have been in a state of crisis since last year's May
legislative elections, which were
marred by opposition charges that the ballot was rigged.

The opposition wants new legislative elections to replace lawmakers
elected then.

A widely boycotted presidential election on November 26 brought
Aristide, Haiti's president from
1991 to 1996, back to power, and a further round of voting for the
legislature that day confirmed his
party's control over the Senate.

Last week, the Democratic Convergence rejected a proposal for partial
elections to settle the crisis,
criticizing the proposal as the product of a "unilateral" decision by
the government.