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7509: Aristide Partisans Open Fire (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Monday March 26 11:31 PM ET Aristide Partisans Open Fire
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Supporters of President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide opened fire after an opposition march ended on Monday, shooting
and wounding an opposition militant and four passersby, police said.
Hundreds of opposition supporters dispersed peacefully after marching in
the western town of Petit-Goave, about 35 miles from the capital. But
when straggling marchers passed in front of city hall,
security guards employed by mayor Emmanuel Antoine opened fire, a
Petit-Goave police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Opposition militant Matialy Belfort was wounded in the thigh, abdomen,
chest, hand, and throat, Petit-Goave Convergence leader Monel
Jean-Felix, said in a telephone interview with The Associated
Press. Police ensured the security of the opposition march but were
unable to control the heavily-armed pro-Aristide militants, in the hire
of Antoine, a member of Aristide's Lavalas Family party, Jean-Felix
said. Antoine could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.
``Lavalas thugs told me not to get involved in politics,'' said
Convergence supporter, Lamerci Noel, 32 She said Aristide supporters
burned her house down Monday. ``I'm even more decided now.'' On Monday
afternoon, the town remained blocked by flaming tire barricades and
rusted car chassis. Monday's march was held in support of Gerard
Gourgue, the leader of the 15-party opposition alliance, Convergence,
and president of what has been called an ``alternative government'' to
Aristide's. Since March 14, when Aristide supporters disrupted a
peaceful opposition demonstration in front of the suburban Petionville
headquarters of the Organization of American States, political violence
has left three dead and scores wounded across this unstable Caribbean
nation. The capital was calm Monday. But last week, rock-throwing
Aristide activists blocked the metropolitan area with flaming tire
barricades calling for Gourgue's arrest.