April 21, 1999
Haiti capital paralyzed over protest of activist's death

                  PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Protesters smashed the windows of
                  passing cars and set up flaming barricades in Haiti's capital Wednesday,
                  blaming police for the killing of a political activist.

                  Businesses closed as protesters set fire to street merchants' stalls in
                  Port-au-Prince. In the downtown business district, bystanders scattered in
                  panic as gunmen in a pickup truck fired into the air.

                  A wave of crime and allegations of police brutality have swept over Haiti as
                  politicians struggle to restore the government after a 22-month political
                  impasse. President Rene Preval has tried to resolve the deadlock this year
                  by dissolving Parliament and appointing a new premier by decree.

                  "The increase in crime is part of the weakening social fabric, which is related
                  to the long political crisis," said U.N. civilian mission chief Colin Granderson.

                  The latest violence was provoked by the killing of Michelange Philistin, 25,
                  who was shot in the head Tuesday following a fight with a street merchant.
                  Philistin was a member of Youth and People's Power, a grass-roots ally of
                  former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

                  Demonstrators said a police officer on a motorcycle killed him. Police deny
                  the charges.

                  At State University Hospital, where Philistin's body was carried, his friends
                  hurled a barrage of bottles at police officers, injuring one. Riot police
                  dispersed the mob.

                  Anger toward the police has grown in Port-au-Prince since April 9, when
                  residents in suburban Fontmara claimed officers killed two innocent youths
                  to avenge a riot police officer killed during a shootout with gang members.

                  "The allegations in the neighborhood that crowd-control police were
                  involved are extremely strong," Granderson said. He urged an inquiry into
                  the youths' deaths.

                  Since the United States invaded to topple a military regime in 1994, the
                  United Nations has been trying to train a corruption-free police force to
                  bring order to the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.

                    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press