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1ST FREELY ELECTED CHIEF OF HAITI IS IN EXILE AFTER TAKEOVER BY MILITARY

SHARE 1ST FREELY ELECTED CHIEF OF HAITI IS IN EXILE AFTER TAKEOVER BY MILITARY

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide flew into exile Monday after the army ousted him and the first democratically elected government in Haiti's nearly two centuries as a nation.

The military on Tuesday imposed a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, announcing it over one of four operating radio stations in the capital. Ordinarily 20 broadcast.Sporadic gunfire rang out this morning in Port-au-Prince as soldiers fired into the air to keep people indoors. The capital city's downtown area was nearly deserted - stores and offices were closed, and there was little traffic.

Remnants of barricades erected Monday smoldered at key intersections.

"We saw what they (the military) did yesterday. We're living with our fear," said one housekeeper who risked going to work at a private residence. She spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hours after word of Aristide's capture surfaced in Miami's Little Haiti section, street protests broke out, and demonstrators burned an American flag, tires and other debris. Seventy-five people were arrested.

About 2,000 Haitian residents of New York held a raucous rally outside the U.N. Headquarters late Monday and early Tuesday demanding action by the U.N. Security Council.

The army rebellion began Sunday, and at least 26people were killed and 200 wounded in related fighting or street violence.

Many Haitians feared further violence over the ouster of Aristide, who won 70 percent of the vote in Haiti's first free presidential elections and had championed the cause of the poor against dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and a succession of military-dominated governments.

Aristide arrived in Venezuela Tuesday morning, en route to France, and met privately with the U.S. and French ambassadors in Caracas.

Haiti's acting army commander, Brig. Gen. Raoul Cedras, announced Monday night that the military had taken control.

The notoriously corrupt army, an agent of repression that has long dominated politics in Haiti, accused Aristide of interfering in its affairs. In nearly eight months in office, Aristide retired the army's high command and was rumored to be training an elite unit for his protection.

Cedras urged calm and spoke of creating a "serene climate favorable to the next election."

Since taking office Feb. 7, Aristide forged a good relationship with the United States and set about improving the lot of the 6 million people in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.

During a three-day visit to the United States last week, the 38-year-old Roman Catholic priest's speech was warmly received at the United Nations, and he was cheered during visits to Haitian communities in Miami and New York City.

France, which once ruled Haiti as a colony, Monday suspended foreign aid to Haiti and demanded that Aristide be restored to office. The United States, which denounced the coup as "an outrageous attack," also halted economic and military aid. The Organization of American States demanded Aristide's return to power.

The takeover began with mutinies at an army base and a police station Sunday night. Rebel elements fired on Aristide's private residence at daybreak and on his entourage as it headed to the National Palace.

The soldiers later seized the palace, captured Aristide and took him to army headquarters, said his foreign minister, Jean-Robert Sabalat.