Thousands march to demand resignation of Haiti's government
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Thousands of protesters marched in central
Haiti on Monday to demand the resignation of a legislature controlled by the
Lavalas Family Party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Radio stations reported that about 5,000 people marched, which would be
biggest protest since recent elections.
"Down with Lavalas! Down with Aristide!" demonstrators shouted as they
marched from the village of Papaye to nearby Hinche, about 45 miles northeast of
Sporadic gunfire toward the end of the march triggered panic among the
demonstrators, but no injuries were reported and the protest ended peacefully.
The march was organized by the Papaye Peasants' Movement, the biggest rural
workers' organization in Haiti, and was endorsed by the opposition Convergence
The opposition accuses President Rene Preval's government of rigging local
legislative elections in May, June and July in favor of Lavalas. Preval's critics
have also charged Lavalas with being behind street violence aimed at opposition
"The Lavalas Family is trying to gag any expression of opposition to (Aristide's)
plan to establish a dictatorship," said Gerard Pierre-Charles, spokesman for the
former parliamentary majority.
The Organization of American States has expressed doubts about the way
candidates were selected for the second round of the elections. The European
Union and the United States have threatened to withhold funds, or channel them
through non-governmental agencies, if Haiti does not revise the results.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.