Frustrated coup d'etat in Haiti - 17 December, 2001 - News

Armed commandos broke in the National Palace of Government on Monday, killing at least four people in what government officials called an attempted coup d'etat. Hundreds of machete-welding supporters of President Jean Bertrand Aristide surrounded the palace trying to evacuate the remaining illegal forces inside the building.

President Aristide and his wife were three miles away from Palace when the gunmen entered after killing two police officers and injuring another guards. National Palace spokesman, Jacques Maurice said: "This is an attempted coup d'etat and not a staged event".

In retaliation, Aristide supporters burned headquarters of "The Convergence", political opposition alliance, and also headquarters of the Socialist Party, member of the coalition. Since Aristide's party swept local elections in May 2000, the main opposition group denounced the lections as fraudulent. In turn, Aristide called in a statement dated on June 2000 to a "zero tolerance" policy against these groups.

The situation returned to calm in Port-au-Prince, after regular forces re-occupied the Palace of Government Monday morning.

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