Students Take Champ de Mars in Protest against UN Peacekeepers

Written by Robenson Geffrard

Thursday, 15 September 2011 12:40

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ( - Students from the State University of Haiti (EUH) did not heed a public ordinance banning demonstrations on Champ de Mars and had won the streets for a little more than an hour to protest against the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Police bombarded the young demonstrators with tear gas to bring peace to the major artery.

There were more than a hundred protesters, mostly from the university who to the streets of the capital on Wednesday, burning tires, throwing stones, bottles and people running in all directions. The students were demanding the unconditional departure of MINUSTAH soldiers from the territory.

"The peacekeepers are rapists, an occupying force ... They must leave. The country's sovereignty must be recovered," chanted one protester before throwing a stone.

Two journalists from Canal 11 FM and Radio Scoop reported having been "molested" by the police during the melee with protesters.

Despite a ban on protesting on Champ de Mars, released through several media agencies the day before by Secretary of State for Public Security, Aramick Louis, all forms of protestations appeared in the area of the Champ de Mars, the students still managed to win, at least for a few minutes the streets. To disperse the demonstration, the police threw tear gas in abundance.

"Martelly can not stop us from protesting. It was to be the first to demand the departure of MINUSTAH. As the occupying force is in his interest, he sided with her," criticized one protester.

Reacting to the scandal of rape of a young Haitian in Port-Salut by soldiers of the Uruguayan MINUSTAH contingent, the Head of State declared this week that MINUSTAH should not be cornered for the acts of a few.

The staff of the Hospital of the State University of Haiti (HUEH) had to suspend its activities due to the effects of tear gas that suffocated patients.

"We did not manifest. Why are the police bombarding us with noxious gases? We had to quickly evacuate the children. They could not resist," said a man in his forties. For more than an hour, the students have taken over the premises of the Faculty of Ethnology.

This did not prevent the police from continuing their bombardment. Several demonstrators fainted. In reply, the students did not pray, they threw many more stones and bottles at the police. The young demonstrators announced further protests to force MINUTAH to leave the country.

"We will not let go. MINUSTAH should leave ... , "Commented one student, who admitted that the Haitian authorities must also be involved in the battle to reach the start.

On October 15 the Head of State will still have to ask the Security Council of UN to renew the mandate of MINUSTAH for 12 more months. Meanwhile, the Brazilian authorities for their part could apply a 15% reduction in the number of peacekeepers in Haiti.

The appearance of cholera in Haiti, which, according to several surveys, comes from the Nepalese peacekeepers based in Mirebalais, gave a very bad image of MINUSTAH in the country.

The rape of a teenager by four peacekeeper based in Port-Salut is probably the straw that broke the camel's back to the indignation of the population.

Related 09.15.2011: Senate Justice and Public Safety Aims to Resolve MINUSTAH Problem
Related 09.14.2011: Haitian Groups to Rally at United Nations Headquarters in New York
Related 09.14.2011: President Martelly Defends: "MINUSTAH should not be cornered..."
Related 09.13.2011: Philippine Peacekeepers Coming to Haiti
Related 09.12.2011: Haitian Senate Introducing Resolutions to Withdrawal and Limit Immunity of United Nations Peacekeepers
Related 09.11.2011: MINUSTAH Looking for Renewal of Mandate, Ban Ki-Moon Recommends It
Related 09.08.2011: Haiti Senate Working on Draft Resolution for UN Peacekeeper Withdrawal
Source: {japopup type="iframe" content=""}Le Nouvelliste{/japopup} Robenson Geffrard