The Miami Herald
Dec. 06, 2003
Students clash with Aristide backers

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- (AP) -- University students faced off Friday against supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in a violent demonstration that left at least five injured as tensions grow in impoverished Haiti.

About 100 students from the University of Haiti, who want Aristide to step down, clashed with dozens of government supporters. Both sides tossed rocks, and police fired warning shots, evacuating the College of Human Sciences in downtown Port-au-Prince.

Journalists saw at least two people -- an Aristide partisan and a student -- shot, but it was unclear who shot them and whether they were hit by pellets or bullets. Radio Caraibes reported five students were shot.

At least two other people received minor injuries from the hail of rocks, which shattered car windows. A nearby house was set on fire.

Aristide partisans, meanwhile, beat journalist Rodson Joffelin of the Haiti Press Network with sticks, bloodying his arm. They accuse reporters of being unfairly critical of Haiti's leader.

''This is the last day that we'll let them demonstrate against our president,'' said Robens Bellefleur, 20. ``We voted him into office.''