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Looting, Violence Subside In Haitian Capital - 2004-02-29


Looting and robbery have subsided in the rebel-threatened Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, after President Jean Bertrand Aristide called on his supporters to stop the violence.

At least six people were killed on Friday when pro-government gangs ransacked the city's port and damaged property. The president on Saturday told supporters to take down their barricades -- giving residents time to buy food and other supplies and clean up some of the debris.

Mr. Aristide also repeated he will not step down - a demand of the rebels who have seized more than half the country since starting an uprising against his government on February fifth.

Rebels moving south toward the capital say they will take over Port-au-Prince unless President Aristide leaves office.

The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince has asked the rebels to halt their advance to spare the city from further violence.

The Associated Press quotes rebel leader Guy Philippe as saying his fighters will hold off attacking the capital "for a day or two."

The international community is putting increasing pressure on President Aristide to resign. The United States says there are contingency plans for a multi-national force to enter Haiti if a political settlement appears possible.

On Saturday Canada said it is sending three military planes to Haiti in case Canadian citizens need to be evacuated.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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