Originally: Aristide foes, supporters clash in Haiti
By Amy Bracken
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Thousands of demonstrators
seeking the ouster of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide clashed on
Friday with the president’s supporters and police outside the National
Palace, witnesses said.
The march was organized by Andre Apaid, a businessman and coordinator
of Group 184, originally a coalition of 184 organizations calling for the
replacement of Aristide with a provisional government. The groups accuse
Aristide’s administration of corruption and suppressing dissent.
Many demonstrators said they were barred from reaching the protest
site near the palace by police or Aristide supporters.
Apaid’s brother, Claude Apaid, said a truck full of demonstrators,
including his son, was struck by rocks and its front windshield broken as
it entered the meeting area.
Apaid said police stopped and searched the vehicle, finding shields
and plastic hand restraints, which the head of Group 184’s security, also
in the car, said were needed to protect the demonstrators. Police arrested
all 20 people in the truck, Apaid said.
Police had no comment on the incident.
Witnesses said Aristide supporters, chanting pro-Aristide slogans and
waving photos of the president, threw rocks at demonstrators, while riot
police shot tear-gas pellets into the crowd or fired their guns in the air.
The witnesses said they later saw a group push a man against a wall
and hit him with wooden sticks. One man yelled, “Kill him!” After a few
minutes, a police car pushed through the crowd and rescued the man.
The victim, Erwin Monstanto, suffered no serious injuries and said
later he had been beaten because he said he hated Aristide.
In the week leading up to the demonstration, public officials accused
Andre Apaid of actually being an American and being behind the July
killings of several Aristide supporters in the Port-au-Prince slum of Cite
Soleil. Apaid and his lawyers deny the accusations.