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Haitian Mayor Braves Gunfire to Reclaim Job

September 09, 1993| From Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Braving crackling gunfire and a rampage by foes, the capital's elected mayor reclaimed City Hall on Wednesday in a test of Haiti's fragile return to democracy.

A government official said one bystander was killed and at least 10 people were reported injured, including the information minister.

Mayor Evans Paul was accompanied by the new prime minister, Robert Malval, Cabinet ministers and a knot of diplomats and journalists when he walked up the steps of the two-story seaside building he ran until a military coup in September, 1991.

Twenty minutes earlier, police cleared the building of hostile city workers and plainclothes police who had occupied it since Malval's government was installed Thursday under a U.N.-mediated plan to restore democracy. But some stick-wielding opponents remained outside.

Hundreds of bystanders applauded the arrival of the motorcade carrying Malval and Paul, both supporters of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first freely elected president, who was forced into exile by the coup. He is to return to power Oct. 30 under the U.N. plan.

Paul, who went into hiding after the coup, said Aristide's opponents had threatened him. Many rank-and-file soldiers strongly oppose Aristide's return.

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