The Haiti Democracy Project is on the phone with Port-au-Prince. A reporter says that Haitian radio reporters witnessed some people coming out of the Ministry of the Interior handing out arms, machetes, and broken glasses to “chimeres.”
Violence was limited by the fact that the students and demonstrators, numbering as much as 20,000, vastly outnumbered the chimeres who only numbered 20 to 50.
The students received a lot of support from the population–cab and tap-tap drivers, street merchants. They gave the demonstrators water and applauded.
There are threats by the chimeres to burn four radio stations tonight: Metropole, Caraibes, Kiskeya, and Vision 2000
The Haiti Democracy Project is on the phone with Port-au-Prince. Our contact is calling from a cell. He is now in the middle of the crowd. They are at the corner of Avenue Magny & Chemin des Dalles and they are heading down toward the National Palace. There are more people joining the protesters and the crowd that he estimates at 50,000 is stretched all the way back to the TELECO building on Pont Morin; it’s followed by hundreds of cars that are honking their horns. Residents all along Bois Verna are out of their houses chanting with the protesters ?DOWN WITH ARISTIDE? ?It is “NOT A MINORITY, BUT A MAJORITY THAT WANTS YOU TO LEAVE?. There are scores of journalists and reporters all over. The word is that the ?chimès? have regrouped in front of the National Palace and are waiting for them?.
The demonstration of students, high-schoolers, and civil society, converging on the national palace from several blocks up Avenue John Brown, is the largest student demonstration yet against President Aristide. It is conservatively estimated at 15,000, although some estimates go as high as 50,000 or 100,000 (unconfirmable). The demonstration was broken up by tear gas and chimères. Local journalists report that a police commissioner drove his car into a crowd of student demonstrators, injuring three. They also report having seen agents from the palace handing out machetes, guns and 300 blackout ammo to the chimeres.
A reporter for the Haitian radio station Vision 2000, Delisca Dufleur, confirmed that it was Commissaire Monpremier in front of a government ministry building, who drove into the demonstration. He recognized the police commissioner and confirms it was he who drove into the students.
The crowd stretched from Post-Marchand (midway down Avenue John Brown) to the national palace. The crowd was mainly composed of students, women’s and human rights activists and as they advanced towards the palace passersby and others joined the crowd screaming loud and clear, A-bas Aristide! Aristide must go!
From Gonaives the following is reported: