Originally: Haiti Govt Blamed For Radio Station Attacks ;3 Shot

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP)–Three anti-government demonstrators in Haiti were shot and wounded in the westcoast town of St. Marc on Thursday when partisans of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide allegedly attacked them from cars, several radio stations reported. 

In reprisal, the anti-government demonstrators reportedly burned the home of Freneau Cajuste, a district attorney they accused of unjustly persecuting anti-government activists, and torched privately owned Radio Pyramide, saying the station was running government propaganda. 

Meanwhile, in Port-au-Prince, university students held a demonstration Thursday, accusing Aristide?s administration of having a hand in an attack that forced several radio stations off the air. 

Vandals armed with sledgehammers smashed radio antennas, forcing seven radio stations and one television station off the air on Tuesday. 

“The government wants to muzzle the press because it wants to stop the movement,” said Herve Saintilus, a student leader that led Thursday?s march of about 2,000 people. “But more people are joining the struggle.” 

Aristide condemned the attack, saying, “The press should be able to work without hindrance…We will not tolerate these actions.” 

Privately-owned stations Radio Galaxie, Radio Kiskeya, Radio Melodie, Radio Magique-Stereo, Radio Plus, and Radio Signal-F.M. went off the air. Radio and Television Ti-Moun, which are owned by Aristide?s Foundation for Democracy, were also silenced. The damage caused in the attack could suspend broadcasts for more than a week, owners said Thursday. 

Witnesses said the attackers tried to force the security guards to identify the antenna of Radio Caraibes, which government partisans have accused of anti-government bias in its reporting. 

Pressure has been building against Aristide?s administration. In the past four months, at least 46 people have been killed in demonstrations. 

U.S. Ambassador James Foley denounced the attack on the radio and television stations, calling it “an attempted assassination of democracy.” 

Two all-terrain vehicles used by the attackers had been identified, Radio Kiskeya co-owner Sony Bastien said. He said the nine-man commando was led by an Aristide grass-roots leader. 

One of the vehicles was an Avis rental vehicle, allegedly rented to a member of the National Palace security police. The driver was allegedly a chauffeur of an Aristide adviser. 

Bastien said the gang was working under the orders of Aristide party member, former Rep. Simpson Liberus. 

Liberus, in an interview with the state-run Radio Nationale, denied the charges : “I?ve always been an advocate for peace,” he said.