Aristide calls Haitians to resist occupation

Exiled Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide has appealed to his supporters to peacefully resist the "occupation" of Haiti.

    Aristide's departure has revealed deep rifts in Haiti

    Aristide's call on Monday comes a day six people were killed by gunfire during a huge Port-au-Prince demonstration celebrating his ouster.


    Marines and international peace keeping forces patrolled the tense streets of Port-au-Prince the morning after.


    US Marines said they had shot and killed one of the gunmen who opened fire on the crowd of thousands of Haitians.




    Appearing for the first time in public since his arrival in Central African Republic a week ago, Aristide told reporters in the capital Bangui, "The fact is there was a political abduction."


    "This unfortunately has paved the way for occupation and ... we launch an appeal for peaceful resistance (in Haiti)," said Aristide, looking composed in a dark blue suit. "I'm choosing my words carefully: for a peaceful resistance."


    "I am the elected president and I remain the elected president," said Aristide, sitting on a red armchair. "I am pleading for the restoration of democracy." 


    Aristide(R) insists he was

    Earlier, on Sunday at least six people were shot dead and 19 others wounded when supporters of Haiti's former president opened fire on protesters marching to the presidential palace.

    According to witnesses and radio reports, as

    many as 10,000 anti Jean-Bertrand Aristide protesters marched to the

    palace, escorted by heavily armed US marines and French


    Hospital officials said the dead included Spaniard Ricardo Ortega, a correspondent for the Antena 3 Spanish television station. A Reuters cameraman said at least four other journalists were wounded, including American Michael Laughlin of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. A spokesman for the paper said he was shot in the face and shoulder.

    Aristide supporters had planned a rival demonstration, sparking

    fears of new violence in a city already rocked by unrest and chaotic

    looting after the president's resignation and flight one week


    Take up arms

    Guy Philippe, whose rebels helped depose president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, said he was ready to take up arms again in the wake of Sunday's shootings.

    "I'm choosing my words carefully: for a peaceful resistance"

    Jean Bertrand Aristide
    exiled President, Haiti

    Philippe told local Radio Vision 2000 he would be "obliged very soon to order the troops to take up the arms they laid down" under US pressure.

    "If people don't want to take up their responsibilities, I want to take up mine," said Philippe, who also forcefully called for the resignation of Yvon Neptune, former vice president to Aristide, and "other Lavalas party officials".

    Opposition leader Charles Henri Baker also called on Sunday for the arrest of Neptune, who is acting prime minister after Aristide's departure.

    Baker accused Neptune of having "personally planned" the attack on Sunday's rally as it was coming to an end.

    Aristide, a former priest, fled the country on 28 February, as rebels prepared an assault on the capital Port-au-Prince after capturing sizeable parts of the country.



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