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Haiti - More Mobilizations Against Martelly Government

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  • Cort Greene
    Several thousand people take to streets of Haiti capital in anti-government protest By Associated Press, Published: September 30 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti —
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2012
      Several thousand people take to streets of Haiti capital in
      anti-government protest By Associated Press, Published: September 30

      PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti � Several thousand people poured into the streets of
      Haiti�s capital on Sunday to protest the government of President Michel

      It was among the biggest demonstrations this year in Port-au-Prince against
      the first-time leader as he tries to rebuild the impoverished nation
      following a powerful 2010 earthquake that displaced more than a million
      people and destroyed thousands of homes.

      Demonstrators� complaints included the high cost of living, rising food
      prices and allegations of corruption as they snaked through the poorer
      neighborhoods Port-au-Prince. Some protesters carried small red cards to
      suggest that Martelly has committed too many fouls since he was sworn in as
      president in May 2011.

      The Martelly government had no immediate public reaction to the protest.

      Martelly, a pop music star before he turned to politics, presented himself
      as an outsider when he ran for the presidency. He promised free schooling
      and houses for people displaced by the earthquake. But some Haitians
      complain that Martelly has fallen short of improving their lives in one of
      the poorest countries in the world.

      �The president has made so many promises but nothing has become a reality,�
      protester Max Dorlien said. �It�s only a clique of his friends who are
      making money.�

      The Sunday protest followed several weeks of mostly peaceful demonstrations
      in the countryside, and more are planned for October.

      It also marked the 21st anniversary of the first ouster of two-time
      President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former priest who returned to Haiti
      last year after seven years in exile. Since his return, Aristide has
      remained in his compound in the capital and out of the public spotlight,
      fueling widespread speculation on his political relevance.

      Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


      *The Mobilization Against Martelly Grows*

      *by Isabelle Papillon
      *[image: ...]For the second consecutive week, thousands of people of all
      ages and walks of life took to the streets of Cap Ha�tien, Haiti�s second
      largest city, on Sep. 21 to protest against President Michel Martelly and
      Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

      They denounced high-level corruption, the high cost of living,
      Martelly�s �hijacking� of the electoral council, and government attempts to
      evict peasants from plots of land on which they have lived and farmed for
      almost two centuries.

      After rallying at the Samarie roundabout in the morning,
      thousands of people from Cit� Lescot, La Fossette and other Cap-Ha�tien
      neighborhoods marched through the city, rallying in front of the central
      government�s offices, known as the Delegation of the North, and at the
      Courthouse. In front of the Delegation�s offices, pro-Martelly partisans
      hiding inside the government building threw rocks at the protesters. The
      demonstrators threw rocks back at them. The Haitian National Police (PNH)
      and UN occupying troops (MINUSTAH) fired tear-gas canisters to disperse the
      protesters, with only partial success.

      When they met the marchers, some people were seen to
      theatrically take off their pink bracelets, meant to signify allegiance
      with the government, and throw them on the ground.

      "*Martelly, Martelly, p�p N� a pap jwe,*" the demonstrators
      shouted. (The people of the North do not play around.) "We do not want
      imported rice, we want to work," they chanted. "We want to live in peace
      in our country."

      To ease spiking food prices, last week Lamothe announced that
      the government would import 300,000 bags of rice.

      Despite some brutality from the PNH and MINUSTAH, the
      demonstration ended without major incident.

      However, during the afternoon after the march had ended,
      helmeted-policemen of the Security Unit to Guard the National Palace
      (USGPN) arrived in Cap Ha�tien from Port-au-Prince and began shooting with
      leveled weapons in different parts of the city. In retaliation, the people
      threw stones and bottles.

      The evening before the march, the city was also tense.
      Burning-tire barricades, a traditional form of protest, went up in several
      roads, especially near the neighborhoods of La Fossette, Cit� Lescot, and
      Samarie. Police gunfire wounded at least three people. Thrown rocks and
      bottles injured one policeman.

      On Sep. 17, four days before the demonstration, the government
      sent a delegation headed by Interior Minister Ronsard Saint-Cyr and the
      State Secretary for Communication, Guyler C. Delva to try to buy off those
      responsible for the mobilization in the North. The mission was a failure,
      like a similar on to the southern city of Les Cayes the week before as
      confirmed by the former Southern delegate Pierre Etienne France on a radio
      in the capital this week (see *Ha�ti Libert�*, Sep. 19, 2012).

      Also on Sep. 21, in the southern city of Mirago�ne, hundreds
      took to the streets to protest corruption in the Martelly/Lamothe
      administration and the high cost of living. Protesters said Martelly had
      lied to the Haitian people when he promised change and a break from the
      past. Instead, demonstrators said, he has resurrected the repressive
      policies of the Duvalier dictatorship, which was overthrown 25 years ago.

      Meanwhile, in Port-au-Prince, dozens of people
      picketed in front of the Prime Minister�s office to demand that food prices
      be lowered. Some chanted: "Down with Lamothe."

      On Sep. 19, President Martelly accompanied UNESCO�s Special
      Envoy to Haiti, Micha�lle Jean, on a brief visit to Port-au-Prince. The
      unemployed who often gather to discuss their woes in public places quickly
      organized an impromptu protest to voice their anger about Haiti�s
      deteriorating economy as schools are about to open on Oct. 1. These
      fathers, mothers, and youth said they were discouraged and disappointed
      that the hope for change promised by Martelly is shrinking as time goes by.
      "We are hungry and need jobs, not words to put us to sleep while the
      gangrene of corruption spreads at the highest levels of power," said one

      Protests nationwide are sharpening around these key issues:
      corruption, exclusion, the high cost of living, the rise of arbitrary
      power, the drift towards dictatorship, and the manipulation of Haiti�s
      judiciary, legislature, and other independent institutions. Martelly
      continues to maneuver in an effort to form a Permanent Electoral Council as
      opposed to a compromise Provisional Electoral Council proposed by most
      A major demonstration around these issues is being planned in
      Port-au-Prince for the 21st anniversary of the Sep. 30, 1991 coup d��tat
      against then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a coup which many officials
      in the current government, including the President, either participated in
      or supported.
      Vol. 6, No. 11 � Du 26 Septembre au 2 Octobre 2012

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