Strikes and protests are announced in
By PAISLEY DODDS and MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writers
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – South African President Thabo Mbeki met with Haitian opposition leaders Friday, a day after bloody clashes marred the 200th anniversary of Haitian independence
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide political opposition also reiterated a demand that he step down, issuing a declaration calling for a transitional government.
At least eight anti-government protesters were injured Thursday in clashes with police. The demonstrations underscored the deepening crisis facing Aristide.
Thursday’s observance of the 200th anniversary of
On Friday, Mbeki called
Mbeki told opposition leaders that
But Mbeki later emerged after a separate meeting with a coalition of 184 civil groups, saying he couldn’t say what role
Some were critical of Mbeki presence for the bicentennial.
“His arrival brought oxygen to a dying dictatorship,” said businessman Andy Apaid Jr., a prominent Aristide critic. He said Mbeki “should bear some responsibility in following the situation.”
American actor Danny Glover said Friday the celebrations were inspiring but that he was “disappointed and dismayed” at the unrest.
Also Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a visit to
Tensions have increased since Aristide’s party swept 2000 legislative elections that some observers said were flawed. The contested seats were eventually vacated by senators, but the opposition has refused to join in new elections unless Aristide steps down ? a demand he has refused.
Since mid-September, violent anti-government protests have killed at least 41 and wounded scores.