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At Least 2 Die as Police Fire on Haitian Marchers

Associated Press
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; Page A12

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb. 28 -- Police fired at demonstrators who marched in the capital Monday to mark the one-year anniversary of the ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti's presidency. At least two people were killed and nearly a dozen were wounded.

About 2,000 protesters waving pictures of Aristide started marching toward the National Palace when they encountered a police vehicle blocking the road in the Bel Air neighborhood, an Aristide stronghold.

As crowds passed the vehicle, police fired tear gas, then bullets. With weapons drawn, U.N. peacekeepers surrounded the area.

Residents carried off the body of one man who appeared to have been shot in the chest. Police removed a second body about an hour later, after firing shots in the air.

Hundreds of U.N. soldiers from Peru and Brazil accompanied protesters.

"This looked to be peaceful, but for some reason, we are not sure why, the Haitian police arrived and decided to disband the demonstration," said Cmdr. Carols Chugs Braga, a spokesman for the 7,400-member U.N. peacekeeping mission.

[At least 28 people have been killed in the slums over the past five days, bringing the death toll to 278 since September, the Reuters news agency reported. Three soldiers from a Brazil-led U.N. peacekeeping force were wounded by gunfire last week.]

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