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Haiti to Celebrate 200th Birthday - 2004-01-01


Haiti is planning to celebrate its 200th birthday Thursday, with more anti-government demonstrations expected in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide plans to speak in the northern town of Gonaive to mark the bicentennial.

Gonaive is where Haiti declared its independence from France 200 years ago on January 1, 1804. South African President Thabo Mbeki is expected to accompany the Haitian leader.

Earlier this week, thousands of demonstrators protested in Port-au-Prince against President Aristide.

Police fired tear gas to force the protesters to scatter. Journalists on the scene say two people were shot.

Witnesses say a gunfight also erupted between police and Aristide supporters, but no one was injured.

Haiti has been in turmoil since its 2000 elections, which the opposition says were rigged. The country has lost international aid as a result.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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