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Families visit morgue, clash with officials



Published: Sat, August 20, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



MARACAIBO, Venezuela (AP) -- Mourners from the French Caribbean island of Martinique laid red roses Saturday outside a morgue while forensic experts worked to identify their relatives' remains days after a plane crash that killed all 160 on board.

Many wept -- including a young widow who collapsed to the ground in tears -- while others argued with authorities demanding to be allowed past a police barricade that kept them in the hot sun well away from the morgue.

"Please, please let me get closer. Let me put my flower in the building where my sister is," said Jean-Claude Misantrope, 29, who said he had traveled from Paris, like about 40 others in the group.

Francois Baroin, French minister of Overseas Departments, tried to calm him, saying Venezuelan authorities would not allow relatives to go any closer.

Misantrope shouted, "You're hiding things from us!" before being led away by psychologists. Baroin then spoke to Venezuelan authorities, who agreed to move their barricade about 10 yards closer to the building.




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