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Elian Relatives Oppose Handover

April 13, 2000

MIAMI (AP) _ Elian Gonzalez’s custody case hurtled toward a climax today, with the boy’s Miami relatives vowing to defy a government order to surrender him to his father. ``They will have to take this child from me by force,″ the boy’s great-uncle declared to a crowd of supporters, pleading later for peaceful demonstrations.

Attorney General Janet Reno expressed hope the Miami relatives could work out an 11th-hour solution. If they didn’t, she said, the government would take action in a ``reasonable, measured way.″

After failing to reach an agreement with the family during a dramatic 2 1/2-hour meeting attended by the Cuban boy, Reno ordered them to bring him to the Opa-locka airport outside Miami at 2 p.m. for a flight to Washington. Fifty police cars ringed the airport and 200 officers were deployed to the area.