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a11: Haitian President Praises Citizens for Resisting Coup Attempt (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

HAVANA, Dec 17 (Xinhua) -- Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide paid
tribute to citizens on Monday for their participation in quelling a coup
   In his first public appearance since the attack, Aristide termed the
reaction of the citizens as a "victory of the people." He said that it was
the citizens that "foiled the coup attempt" and congratulated them for
joining the police to carry out the counter attack.
   The attack, causing at least three deaths including two law-enforcement
agents and a gunman, was termed a coup attempt by the government. By now,
another alleged attacker identified as Pierre Richardson was arrested in
the morning. Police reportedly seized an M-50 machine-gun he carried.
Authorities also said two similar machine-guns are still missing and that
suspects are under arrest.
   Following the coup, Aristide called Haitians to join the police and set
political differences aside in order to keep peace and law.
   Moreover, he asked them to continue with peaceful demonstrations and
guaranteed the respect for civil liberty, freedom of press, and freedom to
   "When the country is threatened by a coup attempt, the whole country
must act as one to frustrate these attempts," Aristide said, adding that in
Haiti, "Enough blood has been shed."
   "The time in which the people hid is over," the president said, mindful
of his forced exile that took him out of office in 1991.
   Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition alliance Democratic Convergence
Paul Denis said the organization "knows nothing of the attack" and
indicated that "this is part of a scheme to accelerate repression against
   The political situation in Haiti has turned more complicated since the
local and legislative elections in May 2000. In the elections labeled as
"fraudulent" by the opposition and some international observers, the voters
gave final victory to the Lavalas Family Party of President Jean Bertrand
   Since then, the opposition has demanded new congressional elections and
the suspension of some congressmen from their posts.The government,
however, has so far rejected their demands.