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Breaking News

Elian Gonzalez Case: Protesters Break Through Police Barriers

Aired April 4, 2000 - 2:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Within the last few minutes, we've gotten some action down in Miami on the Elian Gonzalez story.

Mark Potter is following the story down in Miami.

Mark, what's going on?

All right, we don't have a connection to Mark Potter, but essentially what's happening is, the talks at the INS building between the attorneys for the Miami Gonzalez family and INS lawyers have broken up. And apparently there is still an impasse and that is being reflected in a ring of protesters around the home in Miami where Elian Gonzalez has been staying with his great uncle.

These people have linked arms. They have broken through police barriers, with police permission, we understand, and they are chanting, "Freedom, freedom for Elian Gonzalez." "Do not go." "Stay in the United States."

Mark Potter, who has been outside the INS building keeping track of the talks going on. Mark, they've broken down, what does that mean?

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at least temporarily, they have broken down, Lou, according to sources. They tell us that the lawyers left here an hour or so ago. We are outside the U.S. attorney's office. They are awaiting a call back from the government, perhaps to call them back to resume discussions, as yet that has not occurred.

At issue is a disagreement over the role a team of psychologists would play. Lawyers for the family believe a team of psychologists should examine the boy to determine whether moving him into the custody of his father would have a negative emotional affect. They argue that indeed it would. Sources, however, say that the government's position is that they would be agreeable to allowing a team of experts to come in to help them decide how best to affect a transfer from the family to the father of young Elian.

They do not want the experts making the determination of whether that should actually occur. They have already decided that. The Justice Department believes that the boy and his father should be reunited just as soon as they can.

So that's tissue at hand. It is at least a temporary impasse and so that's where we are right now waiting to see what happens next.

Lou, back to you.

WATERS: OK, Mark Potter outside the INS building.

And we have Susan Candiotti outside the home where Elian Gonzalez has been staying, and she is hear to report on what's going on there, the protesters and such -- Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, I talked to the police department here, some of the police officials here on site just a little while ago. They estimate that there are about 60 people involved in this demonstration. I asked them why they allowed them to jump the police barricade to conduct this demonstration, and they were a little hesitant to explain their actions.

However, they said to me, in these words more or less, we're going to let them blow off a little steam. Don't worry, the heat of the sun will force them back in just a little while.

How much longer they will allow them to stay there and conduct this demonstration I don't know. But in talking with the Miami police chief just yesterday, he explained to me that their theory is they will -- that this is all a bit of art form, trying to determine how to let these supporters who want the boy to remain in the United States to carry out their demonstrations. And at this juncture, the police say, until they deem it the situation to be more critical, they will allow, apparently, these demonstrations to go on as long as they are not causing too much of a disruption.

At this point, quite frankly, Lou, these demonstrators are, to a degree, perhaps performing for the cameras as much as anything else. They began chanting, and the longer that the cameras are trained on them, it is quite possible that's how long they will be standing out there chanting away. Although they have said that they plan to form a human chain around this house in hopes of trying to prevent the boy from being removed from this home to be reunited with his father.

WATERS: All right, Susan Candiotti keeping watch down in Miami. We will continue following this story of course.

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