PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, JULY 6 -- The government kept troops off the streets today, avoiding the violence that has inflamed Haitians during a week-long national protest strike.

The mood of slum dwellers who form a large part of Haiti's urban population remained volatile today, reflecting anger at killings of civilians by soldiers and at the government's recent effort to take direct control of coming local elections.

There were no attacks on police or the few military vehicles that ventured out of Army camps, and demonstrations in provincial centers reportedly were peaceful. Most of the 23 deaths in the past week have been blamed on soldiers.

Many Haitians suggested that if the military-led provisional government of Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy can avoid violence or a political crackdown that might incite more protest, it probably will ride out its most severe crisis in 17 months in power. Opposition leaders today disagreed over whether to pursue their most recent demand: that Namphy and the two other members of the governing council resign.

The opposition committee directing the general strike voted tonight to continue the action through Tuesday and scheduled protests for Thursday and Friday. A communique by the committee left it unclear whether the group -- which claims to represent 57 political, civic and religious organizations -- would end its demand for the government's ouster.

Some strike leaders said that they were considering reducing their demands, but that they were finding it impossible to make contact with the government.

One committee member, Serge Gilles of the socialist Patriotic Unity Bloc, insisted this afternoon that the three-man government step down, a call that was repeated by most of 20 Haitians interviewed in the slum sections of Port-au-Prince today.

"Namphy must go!" said Eddie Jean-Louis, who has had no job since a sugar refinery closed a year ago. The crowd gathered around Jean-Louis shouted agreement. But many poor people said they cannot afford to stay home from work indefinitely in an economy where one worker often provides for many unemployed relatives.

"It will be difficult to pursue the strike," said Ives-Marie Chanel, a journalist for Radio Soleil, the station run by the Catholic Church. "If the government avoids inciting people, it will have to subside."

The strike has costing Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, $60 million a day in lost revenues, according to some estimates.

The opposition committee scheduled a symbolic funeral Thursday in honor of the victims of last week's violence. On Friday it plans a nationwide demonstration against the Ton-Tons Macoutes, the disbanded security force of the Duvalier family that ruled Haiti for 29 years until February 1986.

Many Haiitians blame shootings of civilians, some of them by non-uniformed men traveling in unregistered cars, on the Ton-Tons Macoutes.

One of the most prominent opposition leaders backing the strike, Jean-Claude Bajeux, told foreign journalists that "this strike will not fell the government," and suggested that the strike committee should both offer and seek concessions.

Bajeux, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico and a former priest, said a lack of communication with the government clouds prospects for a peaceful settlement. "We have to use ambassadors from foreign governments to {receive} messages from our own government," one opposition leader said.

Bajeux, who has been in hiding, suggested that a gesture by the government affirming its commitment to the three-month-old constitution, and assurances of no more violence by undisciplined troops, might lead to a peaceful solution.

Bajeux declined to predict what would happen if the government did not come forth with a gesture by Wednesday.

While many slum dwellers identify Namphy with the Ton-Tons Macoutes, Bajeux suggested that a removal of hard-liners from the Cabinet and the military command would calm public fears.

The general strike was effective today after a weekend suspension. Streets here in the capital were empty of normal traffic and stores remained shuttered.