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7398: Haiti Leader's Supporters Open Fire (fwd)




From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

 Haiti Leader's Supporters Open Fire
 The Associated Press, Tue 20 Mar 2001

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP)  About 200 supporters of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide opened fire on an opposition office Tuesday,
throwing firebombs at the building and threatening to go after the head
of the opposition alliance.  The mob attacked the offices of the
Struggling People's Organization, which is part of the
Convergence         opposition alliance. The attack lasted 15 minutes,
said opposition leader Sauvuer Etienne. No injuries   were reported.
 The Aristide supporters are demanding the arrest of Gerard Gourgue, who
leads a 15-party alternative ``government'' and claims the Aristide
administration won last May's legislative elections through fraud. A
lawyer and human rights activist, Gourgue was a favorite to win 1987
elections that the army halted.  Aristide's government on Tuesday
condemned any violence, but two top ministers threatened to arrest
Gourgue for ``usurping the title of president,'' a violation of the law.
``We are waiting for the police report to be made before making
statements but we condemn violence in whatever shape or form,'' said
government spokesman Mario Dupry.   Aristide won a second term in
November and his party won an 80 percent majority in the parliament. The
Organization of American States said 10 Senate seats won by Aristide's
party should have gone to a    second round, and millions in
international aid have been put on hold over the results.      ``The
government is rushing headlong toward the worst possible solution 
political repression,'' said   Jean-Claude Bajeux, a human rights
activist who once served as culture minister under Aristide.On Monday,
Aristide backers blocked streets with flaming tires and rusted cars in
protests that spread  to the capital's suburbs.
 Opposition leaders said Aristide supporters shot at their party offices
in the capital and stoned opposition members, injuring three of them
with rocks.