PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Thousands of Haitian fans cheered a 6-0 spectacle by World Cup champion Brazil over Haiti in a friendly on Wednesday to
promote peace in the Caribbean country.
Ronaldinho Gaucho claimed a hat trick, Roger scored twice from setups by Ronaldo, and Nilmar also netted. The highlight was Ronaldinho's first in the
32nd minute when he dribbled up the middle around and through four defenders then jumped over Haiti goalkeeper Fenelon Gabart and tapped the ball into
an empty goal.
There was a sold-out crowd of about 15,000 for what was billed as a "Match for Peace" nearly six months after a rebellion culminated in the ouster of
Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Brazil is heading a U.N. peacekeeping force meant to bring stability to Haiti, and cheering Haitians lined the streets to greet Brazilian President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who attended the match.
Haitian children were allowed onto the field to pose with players, and while the anthems played some children held a banner reading, "Social justice
is the real name of peace," echoing an earlier comment by Silva. Showers of confetti floated in the stands.
The sold-out crowd chanted "Haiti, Haiti!" but many also cheered when Brazil scored until the second half, when with the goals mounting most fans
showed their loyalty for Haiti.
Security was tight in the newly renovated Sylvio Cator Stadium. Police and about 800 Brazilian troops secured the area, including about 200 soldiers
posted inside the stadium.
"Our soccer players are not the only stars in Haiti. You are also scoring a goal," Silva, popularly known as "Lula," said after meeting troops at a
compound next to the Port-au-Prince airport where he planted Brazil's national tree - the pau-brasil, or pernambuco.
Silva said it was the first time a Brazilian president visited Haiti, "a nation with which we share common African roots." He said the game "will
become a symbol of our friendship."
Interim Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue called the game "a great gift to the Haitian people" from Silva.
The Brazilian leader met interim President Boniface Alexandre before the match, and officials signed two agreements pledging cooperation in sports and
efforts to strengthen democracy.
President Jorge Batlle of Uruguay, another member of the U.N. force, also was visiting.
Initially, organizers of the soccer friendly considered inviting fans to turn in guns for admission, but the plan was abandoned due to concerns it
could be seen as rewarding criminals.
Meanwhile, a small group of Aristide supporters lit tires in the streets of Port-au-Prince's Bel Air neighborhood Wednesday and shot into the air
during a demonstration calling for Aristide's return. No one was reported hurt.