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Breaking News

Elian Gonzalez Case: Protesters Break Through Police Barriers

Aired April 4, 2000 - 1:53 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: We have a story down in Miami as the sense of anxiety builds with the anticipated arrival in the United States of Elian Gonzalez's father and an entourage from Cuba. That trip is being prepared. There is no one headed toward the United States yet, but we can sense this anticipation around the two-bedroom home where Elian Gonzalez has been staying since his arrival in the United States four and 1/2 months ago.

Now, we see a closeup picture here of a number of protesters who broke through the barriers that have been set up by the police department to keep people at bay and maintain a bit of privacy for the Gonzalez family in Miami. They broke through the barriers, linked arms, as we had heard a day or so ago that they would do, forming a ring around the building. There's been some chanting going on.

This just happened within the past few minutes. We have been unable to discern what they are chanting, but we understand that it probably has to do with what it has had to do with all along, and that is the major objections within the Little Havana community of Elian Gonzalez being turned over to his father for a return trip to Cuba.

We have CNN's Susan Candiotti who's been following this story down by the Gonzalez home here, and she is apparently caught up in the middle of this. So all we have for you now is a picture of, right at the moment, a number of people taking pictures of what's going on around the house.

We'll continue following this story, of course.

There's Susan.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: There's Susan right there, yes.

WATERS: Can she hear?

KELLEY: Susan Candiotti, can you hear us in Atlanta?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

WATERS: OK, what's happening there? What are they chanting, Susan? What's going on?

CANDIOTTI: Well, we believe that what prompted this are some developments that occurred within the last hour or so. During what amounted to -- what began as a lunch break during the fourth day of negotiations between government attorneys and attorneys representing the Florida relatives of Elian Gonzalez. According to sources, those talks have virtually ended, and they have ended with what amounts to an ultimatum being provided by the attorneys representing the Florida relatives.

For the past couple of days, those attorneys, this family has said, that for them it is not a matter of when the boy will be transferred -- his custody will be transferred to his father, but if he can be transferred to his father. The family has maintained that it wants an independent psychological examination of this child to determine if he should be reunited with his father. The government, on the other hand, has said that they are simply working out the details of how such a transfer would take place.

Once that news became public, started to circulate -- and word travels like wildfire around here -- some of the supporters who want the boy to remain in the United States jumped the police barricades -- and the police have allowed them to do so -- to rush in front of the house -- there's a fence outside the home where the boy's been living -- and began chanting, "freedom, Elian, don't go back, don't go back." And that's what you see happening here. They have locked arms with each other and they are trying to get the message out that they don't want this boy to go back to Cuba no matter what happens.

The family has said all along they are concerned for the psychological welfare of this child, and U.S. Immigration authorities and the Justice Department has said they are, too. They are trying to work out a plan so that the boy can go back to his father, can be reunited with the least amount of trauma possible.

And so both sides appear to have come to a head, according to sources. This does appear to be the final day of talks. The government has told the attorneys to go away and that they will be notified when to come back and will be notified of the government's decision.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, reporting live in Miami.

WATERS: All right. And we have a couple of stories to keep on top of; matters pending.

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