Police Fire Tear Gas at Haiti Protest


By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Police fired tear gas and warning shots to break up a clash Wednesday between government supporters and student protesters.



The violence came as two Caribbean envoys held a second day of talks with Haitian opposition leaders in a bid to end the country’s political crisis.

About 100 students were wrapping up an anti-government protest when government supporters began throwing rocks and bottles at them, witnesses and Haitian radio reports said. Students picked up the rocks and threw them back.

No serious injuries were reported, but independent Radio Vision 2000 said police detained five students.

The students had demonstrated outside a courthouse where Luckmane Delille, a protest leader, was being questioned about violence during an anti-government march last month.

“Justice for Luckmane!” the students chanted.

He has not been charged in the Jan. 18 protest, when unidentified gunmen opened fire from a car and wounded one man, a bystander.

The government and opposition have been in a deadlock since 2000 legislative elections that observers said were flawed. The opposition has refused to participate in elections unless President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns, but he says he won’t step down until his term ends in 2006.

Bahamas Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell and Colin Granderson, assistant secretary-general of Caribbean Community, met privately with opposition leaders. The two planned separate talks with Aristide. Granderson said the 15-member Caribbean Community “will continue to engage with both sides.”

At least 51 people have been killed since mid-September in clashes between police, protesters and Aristide supporters.