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Haiti slum under siege

Haiti Information Project (HIP) Port au Prince,Haiti (HIP)–October 2004
www.globalresearch.ca     3 October 2004

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/HAI410A.html


A slum in the capital is under siege from the Haitian National Police (HNP) following three days of violence and unrest. Heavily armed units of the HNP attempted to enter the slum of Bel Air at 9:00 p.m. last night and were met with armed resistance.

Shots could be heard throughout the area for several hours as residents fought a pitched battle with the police who were forced to withdraw under heavy fire. Bel Air is a slum in the capital of Port au Prince that has served as a launching site for recent demonstrations commemorating the thirteenth anniversary of the 1991 military coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide. On September 30th the police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators provoking an attack against a unit of the Unite de Securite Presidentielle (U.S.P), a special security detail assigned to Interim President Boniface Alexandre.

Members of the special police unit were seen firing on demonstrators and collecting bodies before masked gunmen returned fire killing three and wounding a fourth who later died in the hospital. Residents of Bel Air claim that six persons were wounded and one killed during last night’s police raid.

There are no reports of casualities from the police who have yet to acknowledge the nighttime raid.

Partisans of Aristide’s Lavalas political party, who are calling for his return following his forced ouster on February 29th, stated they are preparing for further actions by the police and the possibility of UN troops being used against them in Bel Air. For more information on the Haiti Information Project, go to http://www.haitiaction.net


Update

October 4, 2004 – 11:50 AM

Bel Air slum surrounded by police

Haiti Information Project (HIP)

Haiti Information Project (HIP) - A slum in the capital is completely surrounded by the Haitian National Police (PNH) this morning following four days of violence and unrest. Heavily armed units of the PNH are positioned at all major thoroughfares around the community. “There is complete panic in Bel Air at this moment, people have already been shot and we expect this to be a massacre” said a frightened resident.

Police attempted nighttime raids in Bel Air on October 2nd and 3rd but were forced to withdraw after meeting fierce armed resistance. Shots could be heard throughout the area for several hours on both nights as residents fought a pitched battle with the police.

Bel Air is a slum in the capital of Port au Prince that served as a launching site for recent demonstrations commemorating the thirteenth anniversary of the 1991 military coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide. On September 30th the police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators provoking an attack against a unit of the Unite de Securite Presidentielle (U.S.P), a special security detail assigned to Interim President Boniface Alexandre. Members of the special police unit were seen firing on demonstrators and collecting bodies before masked gunmen returned fire killing three and wounding a fourth who later died in the hospital.

The U.S.-backed government claims that the headless bodies of the policemen were later recovered and that Aristide backers have launched a campaign emulating Iraq called “Operation Baghdad.” Representatives of Aristide’s Family Lavalas party have denied the allegations. They reiterated it was the police who provoked the violence by firing on unarmed demonstrators who were demanding the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who remains in exile in the Republic of South Africa.

Political tensions ratcheted up further in Haiti after three Lavalas representatives were arrested on Sunday after participating in a broadcast on local Radio Caraibes FM. During the course of the program, Former Deputy Roudy Hérivaux, former Lavalas Senator Yvon Feuillé, and former Lavalas Senator Gerald Gilles denounced the violence and condemned the police for firing on unarmed demonstrators on September 30th. At 5:55 PM the police entered Radio Caraibes and arrested the three on charges of “inciting violence” related to September 30th. The police action was condemned by the management of Radio Caraibes stating that it “harms the reputation of the station and is an infringement of freedom of expression.” Radio Caraibes has suspended broadcasting indefinitely in protest.

The police action in Bel Air began this morning after the spokesperson for the Haitian National Police (PNH) asked listeners on local Radio Metropole to call them “if you suspect there are Lavalas chimere in your neighborhood. We will come and get them immediately.”


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