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RECEPTION SURPRISES U.S. TROOPS

Jean Claude Charles tears at his pants in a rush to show the purpling bullet wound in his thigh.

"The police shot me for no reason," he said. "I was with people and I was happy that the Americans were going to come and they shot me."The Marines arrived Tuesday in this northern coastal city of 65,000 to the cheers and applause of its citizens. The air-sea assault was perfect, a textbook coordination of amphibious units and helicopter-borne troops.

But within hours of arriving, a new education began for the troops.

Ecstatic crowds, singing and applauding, were pushed back, sometimes beaten back, from the Marines by Haitian police and soldiers. Capois, as the city's residents are called, shouted pleas of help and charges against the police in Creole, Spanish and English.

"We started singing and they beat us. They said we should not be looking at you," said one man across the Marine concertina wire.

And as the Marines took it all in, the Haitian military, still armed and on patrol, walked stiffly past their position.

"Two days ago we were ready to fight them. Now we're supposed to be working with them," said Cpl. Cameron Lochner as he sat atop his armored personnel carrier parked under the shade of a coconut palm.

"I've got to admit I'm nervous about them walking around here with guns," he said.

The Haitian authorities do little to dispel the Marines' jitters.

"They haven't acknowledged us being here. They don't even make eye contact," said Lance Cpl. Kelly Redden of Rowland, Okla.

Redden's education was furthered when a woman was brought with blood streaming from a gash over her eye. Her friends said she had been struck by a Haitian soldier's rifle. Redden sent her away with bandages.

By Tuesday afternoon, some citizens of Cap-Haitien were clearly frustrated that the Marines remained in defensive positions just a street up from the port.

Another man approached the wire trying hard to make his limited English work.

"When are going to move . . . ," he started, then resorted to gestures to indicate he wants the Marines to move into the city.

What does he want? he's asked.

"So the people, the people, the people," he stutters, "so the people respect them. We want to applause them. We support."

Down in the port, Lt. Col. Steve Hartley, commander of the battalion landing team, talked to reporters in a warehouse loaded with sacks of fragrant orange peels.

"It's gone like it was supposed to," he said. "The military and the police have been very cooperative. There has not been a confrontation at all."

What about the repression by Haitian soldiers that his men have been witnessing?

"We have no authority to detain any military or police," he said. "We can only get involved in a situation if that act involves a murder or a rape. The ROEs (rules of engagement) allow us to step in and stop it with everything short of deadly force."

Up at the head of the port, a group of Haitian police and military sat along a bench, watching Marines roll by in military Hum-vees.

A young officer with a prominent smile refused to answer any questions.

How does he feel about the Marines' arrival?

"I can't give you any information," he said.

Was there a plan to coordinate with the Marines?

`I can't give you any information," he said.

What was his name?

"I don't have a name," he said. The smile never left his face.

Back at the defense perimeter around the airport, Cpl. Ian Woodward of Alabama, N.Y., had not seen the Haitian military yet. But he had seen the civilians, hundreds of whom had crowded around the edges of the airport to shout "merci beaucoup" and "li-ber-te."

"I didn't expect that they would thank us," Woodward said. "Everybody was clapping. It was pretty cool."