Haitian mob faces senators

Friday, November 23, 2001

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haitians angry with the government mobbed two senators passing through a town in the Port-au-Prince area on Thursday, trapping the legislators inside city hall for two hours until police rescued them by helicopter.

Senators Clones Lans and Gerald Gilles were on their way to the capital when about 100 protesters confronted them in the town of St. Marc, about 50 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince.

The crowd punctured the tires of their two all-terrain vehicles, Lans said in an interview on his arrival at Port-au-Prince airport.

After he and Gilles took refuge in the town hall, the mob surrounded the building, shouting "Long live Aristide!" and "Down with the government!"

"They are demanding the departure of the government" of Prime Minister Jean-Marie Cherestal, Lans said earlier by telephone from City Hall.

Activists had announced a campaign to force Cherestal to resign earlier this week.

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