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Haiti protesters rally to mark ouster of ex-leader

February 27, 2014

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Supporters of former two-time President Jean-Bertrand Aristide rallied in the Haitian capital on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of his second ouster.

The crowd reached about 2,000 people as it passed through the Port-au-Prince shantytowns where Aristide still enjoys a following. The protesters denounced what they described as widespread corruption in President Michel Martelly’s government and even called for his resignation.

“We want Martelly to leave so that we can hold elections. There’s too much corruption,” said Ansyto Felix of Aristide’s Family Lavalas political party.

Senior Haitian officials have denied such allegations, saying they don’t tolerate corruption.

Aristide was ousted on Feb. 29, 2004, in a violent rebellion and lived in exile in South Africa until 2011, when he returned to Haiti despite opposition from the United States.

Since then, he has reopened a medical university while keeping a low profile. Though Aristide has said he wants to focus on education, some in Haiti believe that he still quietly wields considerable influence.

He made a rare public appearance last year when he attended a court hearing to testify in a homicide case. Thousands of people followed him home in one of the biggest demonstrations of support for him in recent years.

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