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Violent Protests Expected in Haiti, Friday - 2004-10-15

Violent demonstrations are expected in Haiti Friday, as supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide mark the anniversary of his return to power in 1994.

Businesses in many cities, including the capital, Port-au-Prince, have closed to protest two weeks of violence that has left some 50 people dead.

Protesters calling for Mr. Aristide's return from exile have been blamed for much of the violence, including the beheadings of three police officers.

On Thursday, a Brazilian official said the United Nations peacekeeping force in Haiti urgently needed reinforcements. With fewer than one-half of the 8,000 troops authorized by the U.N. Security Council deployed in Haiti, he said the Brazilian-led force is overstretched in the country of eight million people.

Meanwhile, Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders have called on the government to reinstate the army in view of the recent violence.