AP World Politics

Thousands in provincial Haitian town demand justice for slain journalist, Aristide’s resignation

45 minutes ago

By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Thousands poured into the streets of provincial Petit-Goave on Monday, demanding justice for slain journalist Brignol Lindor and calling for the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, news reports said.

Marching under police protection through streets and down the highway, as many as 8,000 protesters chanted “Down with Aristide!” and “Justice for Brignol!” the independent Radio Vision 2000 reported.

The protest followed one day after tens of thousands marched in north-coast Cap-Haitien to protest Aristide’s allegedly antidemocratic government ? reflecting a growing crisis of confidence in the president’s leadership.

Police patrolled Petit-Goave on Monday and dispersed a counter demonstration of about 30 Aristide partisans to prevent any possible clash.

Lindor was ambushed and hacked to death on Dec. 3, 2001, after allowing opposition politicians to speak on his evening talk show program.

Ten members of a pro-Aristide grass-roots group have been indicted for the slaying, which happened just outside Petit-Goave, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of the capital.

Human rights groups, however, have protested the fact that Petit-Goave’s pro-Aristide mayor, Bony Dume, was not indicted, even though he had publicly accused Lindor of being a “terrorist” and urged government supporters to implement a “zero tolerance” policy against him.

Monday’s demonstration against Aristide was the latest of several anti-government protests in Haiti this week.

In Cap-Haitien on Sunday, tens of thousands called for an alternative to Aristide’s allegedly corrupt and inefficient government. The demonstration ? which included business leaders and politicians, workers and unemployed ? was the largest since Aristide was elected to a second five-year term in November 2000.

On Friday, thousands of university students and professors stormed the administrative offices of Haiti’s State University in the capital and symbolically reinstated the school’s administrative board, which the government had removed in July.

Haiti’s economic and political stability has deteriorated since May 2000 elections, which observers said were flawed, gave most victories to governing party candidates.

The government and opposition parties have been in a stalemate since, with the opposition saying the vote was rigged.

Failure to agree on new elections has held up hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid. In the meantime, poverty in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country has deepened.