Home | Thursday 18th November 2010 | Issue 748
LOVE TO HAITI
Riots have gripped Northern Haiti since Monday (15th). In Cap-Haitien, the country’s second largest city, protesters set up burning barricades of flaming tires, torched a police station and hurled stones at United Nations officials as they yelled anti-UN slogans. A UN world food program warehouse was looted and burned. Three demonstrators have died as a result, shot by peacekeeping soldiers.
The rioting has been fuelled by suspicions that the cholera epidemic that has assaulted the country for the past month, hospitalising more than 16,700 people and claiming over 1,000 victims, was brought into Haiti by UN peacekeepers. This epidemic follows the earthquake that killed a reported 250,000 and left 1.5million homeless in January this year. Officials of the UN have failed to make any effort towards ascertaining the cause of the infection and deny any responsibility. To further add salt to the wounds, the UN cancelled flights carrying 3 metric tonnes of soap along with medical supplies and personnel because of the violence.
In general the protests seemed to become almost civil by Wednesday (17th), however the burning barricades remained and protesters defended them by throwing rocks at police that tried to remove them. Demonstrators held a peaceful rally in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday, marching towards Haiti’s collapsed national palace whilst tearing down and burning posters of Jude Celestin, the candidate for the Unity Party, and head of the state-run construction party, while chanting “Unity equals cholera”. Many of the demonstrators on the march had been recently forcibly made redundant by the national construction companies.