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a140: Government Supporters Disturb a Symposium IFP (fwd)

From: Stanley Lucas <slucas@iri.org>

Government Supporters Disturb a Symposium       
December 18, 2001

A symposium organized by young members of Citizens' Initiative (Initiative Citoyenne) at the Faculty of Law of the State University of Haiti in Cap Haitian, last Saturday December 15, was marred by incidents.

That conference, where Professor Micha Gaillard was a participant, was violently disturbed by individuals claiming to be from the Lavalas regime, who violated the university campus without regard for the Constitution. According to the leader of Citizens' Initiative, Denis Julien, the conference had already started when the Lavalas "chimè " (thugs) intervened, led by the Mayor of Milot, Moise Jean Charles. Mr. Julien said that the troublemakers clearly indicated to the participants that they were not permitted to hold a symposium of that nature within the university. The leader of Citizens' Initiative stressed that he had wanted a member of parliament from Cap Haitian, James Desrosins, to participate in that conference but that the invitation had been declined. Denis Julien says that he is outraged by the intervention of Lavalas members during that conference, whose focus was not the political crisis. The spokesman from Citizens' Initiative announced that the group would sue the assailants. 
The leader of Citizens' Initiative praised the police for having helped the participants escape the aggression by Lavalas members during that symposium. Citizens' Initiative is an organization recently created in the north of the country. It includes, among others, young persons who had demanded the departure of the Lavalas regime last October, and advocate the emergence of a new political leadership in the country. 

Professor Micha Gaillard, who was scheduled to speak during the conference, said that he was outraged by the behavior of the Lavalas members. Mr. Gaillard considers the violation of that Haitian university campus as a serious matter. According to the professor, Lavalas has entered a new phase, with that incident in Cap Haitian, in the process of establishing its dictatorship in Haiti.