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Violence Mars Haiti Rally for Law, Order

May 29, 1999| Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Agitators hurled rocks and bottles Friday as thousands gathered in front of Haiti's National Palace to demand law and order.

"No to violence!" the crowd shouted minutes after a group of activists threw stones and chairs at the podium and stomped anti-violence posters.

The disruption started before the rally, with one speaker grabbing a microphone, calling former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide a "murderer" and blaming him for the sometimes violent protests that have erupted in Port-au-Prince, the capital, since April.

Stores and street merchants have lost millions in sales.

The speaker, Jude L. Jean-Jacques, was a supporter of the 1991 army coup that ousted Aristide. In September 1994, 20,000 U.S. troops intervened to restore the democratically elected government.

The rock- and bottle-throwing continued during the rally. Police later dispersed the crowd.

Recent street protests were sparked by the fatal shooting April 20 of a pro-Aristide activist. Aristide protesters targeted police, accusing them of doing little to fight crime and of brutality.

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