Protests go on amid Haiti impasse

Several hundred students took to the streets in Haiti again on Monday to demand the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Rallies in the capital Port-au-Prince and the seaside city of Gonaives each drew at least 400 people.

In a separate incident, one person was killed in crossfire between police and a militia group, a report said.

The violence continues despite a pledge by President Aristide to meet the opposition – which they have rejected.

The opposition – a disparate coalition of students, political opponents, radical groups, civic and church groups and businessmen – say only his resignation will satisfy them.

‘Rising up’

“Right now, marches are not only in Port-au-Prince, they are right throughout the country,” one demonstrating student in the capital told Reuters news agency.

“Every little town is rising up to say they don’t want Mr Aristide to head the country any more. They must try to help us achieve that goal and not to keep that man that they, themselves, have a problem with.”

The students marched triumphantly around the University of Haiti, carrying a banner reading “Victory!”, said another report.

Last week, police used tear gas to break up a student protests.

Despite police claims that students had not registered their names and addresses ahead of the demonstration, as required by the law, the protest in the capital appeared to pass off peacefully.

However, a passer-by was killed in Gonaives as police exchanged fire with the anti-Aristide Artibonite Revolutionary Resistance Front, Reuters said.

And in separate incident in the capital a man taken to hospital with severe burns said he was an Aristide supporter who had been set upon by opponents of the president.

At least 48 people have been killed in the conflict since September.

No compromise

There appears to be little progress in resolving the conflict, say correspondents.

Mr Aristide met the Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie on Sunday and agreed to several of his proposals to end the Haitian political crisis.

They included working towards what he called a consensus government, disarming gangs and scheduling parliamentary elections in six months.

He also offered to meet the opposition in Kingston, Jamaica to try to defuse the standoff.

But the opposition – who say elections which catapulted the president back into power after an absence of several years in 2000 were rigged – say they will not compromise on their demand that he resigns.