Thousands call on Haiti’s Aristide to resign

Thousands call on Haiti’s Aristide to resign

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Up to 20,000 demonstrators marched through Port-au-Prince on Tuesday to call for the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The peaceful demonstration came two days after Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie met with Aristide to discuss ways to resolve Haiti‘s political crisis.

Aristide and his political foes have been at odds over the tainted results of parliamentary elections in 2000. The stalemate has dominated Aristide’s second term as Haitian president and led to an aid freeze.

Some $500 million of international aid has been withheld to pressure the impoverished Caribbean nation to resolve the election dispute.

The demonstration involved no violence or clashes with police, unlike several other anti-government marches in recent weeks.

Demonstrator Kenneth Michel, son of a former prime minister and a former ally of the president, said holding discussions with Aristide would be like the United States negotiating with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

“If he hadn’t crushed every demonstration last week, there would be far more people out here today,” he said.