Singing songs calling for democracy in Haiti, 70 members of Boston's Haitian community demonstrated for the return of Haiti's exiled president at Boston's Government Center yesterday afternoon.
The small but vocal crowd called for diplomatic intervention by the international community to restore former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and democracy to Haiti by October 30.
Philippe Genues, an engineer and one of the organizers of the event, organized by the Boston-based Haitian Democratic Resistance, said Haiti needs the world's assistance. "Haitians in the world are all demonstrating today," Genues said. "We're putting pressure on the international community."
Yesterday marked the two-year anniversary of the military coup that ousted Aristide's government and has forced many Haitians into hiding. Others have been forced to seek refuge in the U.S. from what demonstrators called a "campaign of terror."
"We will remember that day," Genues said. "We remember the violence. We want October 30 to happen."
A United Nations-brokered accord set October 15 as the deadline for General Raoul Cedras's military government to step aside and allow the return of Aristide and democracy. Few in the international community expect a peaceful transfer of power.
Chants of Aristide's name filled the ears of all plaza passers-by for nearly three hours as demonstrators exhorted President Clinton to help Haiti attain peace. While the U.N. accord offers amnesty for the military leaders who staged the coup, the demonstrators demanded retribution.
"We will not be silenced," Genue said.
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