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9795: At least one reported death in Haiti protest (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

     By Trenton Daniel

     PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Gunmen fired on protesters
in rural Haiti calling on Thursday for the resignation of Haitian President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, killing at least one demonstrator, journalists in
the town said.
     Hundreds of demonstrators rallied on the main street in St. Marc, a
western seaside town 60 miles (100 km) north of the capital, calling for
Aristide's ouster.
     Reporters from private Radio Continental in St. Marc told Reuters that
counterdemonstrators supporting the ruling Lavalas Family party broke up
the protest by throwing stones and shooting into the air and at the
     They said three protesters were shot to death, including a 30-year-old
man named "Samuel." Private Radio Metropole said one person was killed.
     The St. Marc mayor was unavailable for comment and the town's police
declined to comment.
     St. Marc journalist Pierre-Louis Jude said that some additional
protesters were injured and arrested but that he did not know how many.
     The demonstration was part of a larger political opposition action in
the impoverished Caribbean nation on Thursday.
     Opponents of the Aristide administration had called for a general
strike, which was partially followed in the southern cities of Jacmel, Les
Cayes, and Petit Goave, local radio stations reported. Public
transportation in those places was lighter than usual, although businesses
and schools remained open.
     Lavalas officials expressed their condolences for those killed.
     "If we have had some deaths, it's really a pity," Lavalas spokesman
Jonas Petit said. "I can't understand the opposition. We have so many
problems, and we should work together instead of there being such
     In addition to the opposition protests this month, community groups
have demanded better living conditions, clean water, electricity, and
working phone lines.
     Lavalas militants have also called for a "mobilization" against the
political opposition coalition Democratic Convergence and Prime Minister
Jean-Marie Cherestal, who was appointed by Aristide but whom they consider
     The government has blamed the international community and Convergence
for thwarting progress on easing economic hardships in the poorest country
in the Americas.
     Donor nations are withholding some $500 million in foreign aid until
the two sides can reach an agreement on how to resolve a disputed May 2000
parliamentary election.