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9801: Haiti-Unrest (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By MICHAEL NORTON
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Nov 29 (AP) -- Armed supporters of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide fired at opposition protesters Thursday, killing one
man and wounding another. The opposition-led general strike shut down
schools in three towns, members of the opposition said.
The demonstrators, who were denied a protest permit by authorities, were
shot at as they began to march in St. Marc, 47 miles northwest of
Port-au-Prince, opposition spokesman Evans Paul said. The protesters are
calling for Aristide to step down.
Police could not be immediately reached for comment in St. Marc, but a
local radio station reported the opposition activists were fired on as they
chanted, "Down With Aristide!"
Meanwhile, a general strike closed most public transportation and many
schools and businesses in the west-coast town of Petit-Goave, 38 miles west
of the capital. Anti-government protesters set up flaming tire barricades
at several intersections and two protesters were arrested.
In nearby Miragoane, schools were closed. In south-coast Jacmel, about
half the schools were closed but most shops stayed open.
It was the second general strike called by the opposition this month.
The opposition, grouped in a 15-party alliance called Convergence, is
capitalizing on anger about the lack of government services and the
country's shattered economy to pressure Aristide to resign.
The government blames the country's economic difficulties on the
international community and the opposition. Foreign donors have blocked
some $500 million in aid to Haiti because of the government's standoff with
the opposition over flawed local and legislative elections last year.
Aristide's Lavalas Family took 80 percent of the votes. The opposition
said the balloting was rigged.
Foreign donors have said they will not release the aid until results are
revised, but the opposition and the government have not been able to agree
on new elections.