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Interim Haitian President Sworn In - 2004-03-08


Haiti's interim president was officially sworn in Monday more than a week after he replaced former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who fled the country on February 29. There was more looting in Port-au-Prince on Monday one day after six people were killed by suspected pro-Aristide gunmen who fired on a public crowd.

Monday's ceremony marked the second time that Haiti's former Supreme Court Chief Justice Boniface Alexandre was sworn in as President.

Mr. Alexandre first took the oath of office just hours after Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled the country. However questions about the legitimacy of that ceremony forced officials to schedule a second formal inaugural on Monday.

Swearing to uphold the Haitian constitution, Mr. Alexandre called for reconciliation and elections. He condemned the attack on demonstrators which took place in front of the National Palace on Sunday.

Pro-Aristide demonstrators protested outside the palace grounds and looters ransacked a warehouse district as Mr. Alexandre was sworn in. U.S. Marine helicopters circled the palace which is guarded by U.S. and French troops.

Multi-national troops say they are ready to begin helping Haitian police disarm individuals and gangs in the capital behind a wave of violence that has paralyzed life in the capital over the past two weeks.

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