Originally: Several Dozen Hurt by Rock-Throwing Crowd in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) – Several dozen people were hurt on Saturday when rock-throwing supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide attacked members of an opposition group in Port-au-Prince, witnesses said.
Jessy Benoit, a member of the group “184,” said Aristide supporters set on the group as it left a meeting in a Catholic church center in the Cite Soleil slum area of the capital.
“When we were trying to leave the area, supporters of the regime crying ‘Aristide for life, Aristide is a king,’ threw rocks at the convoy of vehicles,” Benoit told reporters.
Witnesses said about 30 people were hurt, but there were no details on the extent of their injuries. Haitian government officials were not immediately available to comment.
The 184 group, made up of representatives of church groups, business people, teachers and other sectors of society, is calling for political, economic and social change in the impoverished Caribbean nation of eight million people.
Aristide, who was re-elected to a second term in 2000, has faced almost constant protests in a dispute stemming from parliamentary elections in 2000 that critics say were tabulated to favor his Family Lavalas party. Critics say the Aristide government tolerates abuses of human rights and turns a blind eye to thuggery by its supporters.