PORT-AU-PRINCE — Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc'' Duvalier unexpectedly returned to his country Sunday night after decades of exile in France.
A crowd estimated at 2,000 people gathered outside the international airport after news of Duvalier's return began to spread.
"Here's my president!'' some in the crowd chanted.
Duvalier told reporters that he came to help his country.
Duvalier was holed up in the diplomatic lounge for hours after landing.
"I'm waiting for instructions from the prosecutor," Mario Andresol, Haiti's police chief, told The Miami Herald outside the airport.
But about two hours after arriving, a frail-looking Duvaliar left the airport in the back seat of an SUV. The crowd cheered.
National police used pepper spray and even fired their weapons to keep journalists away from the airport. The United Nations, which has a peacekeeping force in Haiti, sent tanks to help keep order.
Earlier, a smiling Duvalier, wearing a dark-blue suit and light blue tie, stepped off an Air France flight shortly before 6 p.m. Few here knew of his planned return. Sources said he traveled on a diplomatic passport.
There was no response from Haitian government officials or foreign diplomats. Much of the diplomatic community was in a meeting in preparation for Monday's visit of the head of the Organization of American States, which is working with the government to end a crisis stemming from last year's presidential and legislative elections.
Duvalier ruled Haiti from 1971 to 1986 and was ousted in a popular revolt. He has said for years that he would like to return to Haiti.
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