From Mon May 13 16:30:09 2002
Date: Sun, 12 May 2002 13:06:18 -0500 (CDT)
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Haiti_Progr=E8s?= <>
Subject: This Week in Haiti 20:7 5/1/2002
Article: 138220
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

As promises break, unrest mounts

This Week in Haiti, Haïti Progrès, Vol.20 no.7, 1–7 May 2002

Protests demanding that the Haitian government deliver on promised development projects rocked neighborhoods around Port-au-Prince this week. At press time, one boy was killed and four other people injured in the violence.

Meanwhile, in Haiti's northeast, tensions are growing over the government's proposal to build free trade zone assembly factories on the region's most fertile farmland (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 20, No. 4, 4/20/2002).

On Apr. 29 and 30, angry demonstrators around the capital erected burning tire barricades, threw rocks and bottles at cars, and broke some car windows to protest unfulfilled government promises. The police's elite crowd-control unit—the CIMO—was deployed but was unable to keep up with the demonstrations which ignited and reignited like brush-fires in teeming quarters such as Carrefour, Delmas, and Nazon.

Healthcare, a professional school, a telephone calling center, piped water, and jobs for our militants in state offices: the president himself made a series of such promises, a demonstrator in the Carrefour neighborhood of Solino said. He has to keep them.

Marc Arthur Alexandre, a 12-year-old boy, was killed on his way to school when someone in a car driving past demonstrators lowered the window and fired at them. My little boy was standing beside me when the bullet hit him, his distraught mother explained on Radio Kinase. I saw his guts begin to spill out, so I wrapped up his stomach and ran with him to the hospital... but he died.

Another demonstrator was shot in the shoulder, and one broke his leg fleeing from police. As the street battles heated up, so did the demonstrators' anger. I am not in the Lavalas anymore, one protestor said to Radio Haoti Inter on the second day of unrest, referring to the political movement which brought President Jean- Bertrand Aristide to power in 1991 and whose name is used for his party, the Lavalas Family. This is a Lavalas which smells, a garbage Lavalas. The country has to change.

Similar rebellions have been occurring elsewhere. Last week, residents of the capital's Carrefour-Feuilles neighborhood held protests demanding that Aristide fulfill promises he made to the unfortunate district which has experienced a police massacre, multiple electrocutions from downed power lines, and landslides in the past two years. For several days, protestors have closed the wharf which serves boats sailing to the city of Jirimie; promised repairs on the landing are long overdue. In Pition- Ville, municipal workers walked off the job because they have not been paid for ten months.

May Day also promises to be filled with protests. The National Popular Party (PPN) announced that 3000 peasants from their branches around the country would march on the National Palace to demand agrarian reform and justice.

Another May Day demonstration in the northeast town of Ouanaminthe may be foiled, the AlterPresse news agency reported. Agronomists, human rights workers, and political activists were planning to demonstrate their solidarity with peasants of the area protesting a planned free trade zone, whose ground- breaking ceremony was held near the town earlier this month. But on Monday, Apr. 29, an official vehicle of the [Northeast] department's central government representative urged the peasants with megaphones to assemble for the distribution of tools on the same day and in the same place as the planned solidarity activity, the agency reports.

We don't want a confrontation with anybody, one of the demonstration organizers told AlterPresse. We are only defending our rights. And we informed all the Ouanaminthe authorities (the police and others) about the demonstration which has long been planned. The population was preparing to support us in our just demands.