Aristide supporters clash with Haiti police

Thousands of supporters of former president clash with officers as they march to mark 1991 coup in which he was ousted.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Aristide but police have so far not moved to carry it out [AP]

Supporters of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide have clashed with riot police as they marched through the capital on the anniversary of a 1991 military coup that ousted the country’s first democratically elected leader.

Thousands of Aristide supporters tried to march from the church where Aristide led services as a Catholic priest to his house on Tuesday, but police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse them before they arrived at the home.

The march marked the date that the military ousted Aristide only a few months into his first term as president. 

Many of the marchers are angry that the former president is facing corruption charges and accuse Haitian President Michel Martelly of being a dictator. 

The demonstrators also fear Aristide will be arrested for failing to heed a court summons to testify in a corruption case. 

An investigative judge issued an arrest warrant in August, but police have so far not moved to carry it out. 

Officials say the allegations of money laundering, corruption and drug trafficking are serious and will need to be answered.

His supporters say Aristide’s apparent house arrest is a deliberate attempt to keep a popular leader from running in elections and have called for the resignation of Martelly.

Opposition political activist Rony Timothee said that next year, when the presidential election is held, Martelly “will be a political disaster” and “will not be able to rule the country”. 

Aristide, seen by many as a champion of the poor, served as president twice but he has rarely been seen in public since returning from exile in South Africa three years ago. 

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies