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New Day In Haiti

Residents celebrate alongside triumphant rebels, but chaos persists

March 02, 2004

Haitian rebels surged into the capital, Port-au-Prince, and were hailed by thousands of civilians who massed in front of the National Palace. The insurgents took over the national police station and promised to restore order.

Looters and vandals continued to ransack shops and homes in the capital. Some were angry supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, others were taking advantage of the disorder for profit. There were reports of vengeance killings of militant Aristide supporters.

Rebel leader Guy Philippe toured local police stations and met with opposition leaders. He tried to persuade businessmen and mainstream activists to work together on a plan for keeping order since most of the police force was not functioning.

U.S. Marines and French and Canadian troops arrived in Port-au-Prince, part of a multinational force to provide security until a transitional government can be established. Interim President Boniface Alexandre, the former Supreme Court chief justice, has been little seen since his swearing-in early Sunday.

U.S. Ambassador James Foley and Caribbean Community representatives met with government and opposition politicians to discuss forming a new government.

The United Nations is preparing to increase humanitarian aid for the country. Several aid groups are already in Haiti, but looting and fighting has blocked food delivery.

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