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Haitian Rebels Suspend Advance Toward Capital For Now

Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince was tense but relatively calm on Saturday after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide called on his supporters to stop the violence that paralyzed the capital on Friday. Rebels who were moving rapidly south toward the capital appear to have suspended their advance for the time being.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide told his supporters to take down their barricades -- during daylight hours -- giving Port-au-Prince residents several hours to buy food and other supplies as well as clean up debris left over from a day of violent protests on Friday.

The city's port, was ransacked on Friday and there was considerable property damage following the protests which shut down the city. About a half a dozen people were killed in the violence.

Mr. Aristide made his appeal on national television where he repeated he will not step down. He urged his followers to remain vigilant and warned that rebels who control much of Haiti's north may have infiltrated Haiti's capital.

Mr. Aristide's statements came following a sternly worded statement from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince which called on the Haitian President to convince his followers to stop their rampage. The statement also called on rebels to halt their advance to spare the capital from further violence.