Haiti protest signals political tension

2012-03-01 10:18

kalahari.com

  • Haiti
    Read all about the worlds first black republic. Now R344.95
    buy now
Port-au-Prince - Several thousand supporters of two-time president Jean-Bertrand Aristide filled the streets of Haiti's capital on Wednesday on the eighth anniversary of his ouster, accusing the country's current leader of not doing enough to improve their lives.

It was the largest demonstration against President Michel Martelly since he took office in May, and pointed to mounting political strife between the president and his critics as the country struggles to rebuild from the 2010 earthquake.

The size of the crowd also hinted at the level of support for Aristide, a former slum priest turned politician who still wields influence since returning to Haiti last year after seven years of exile in South Africa.

"Martelly said he would bring change; instead he's bringing division," protester Rene Augustin said with Haiti's red-and-blue flag wrapped around his head.

The demonstrators also called for the departure of Haiti's UN peacekeeping mission.

The protest came at a time when the mood in the country feels precarious and abounds with tension.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Garry Conille suddenly resigned from his post after just four months on the job because of infighting with Martelly. Conille, who previously worked as an aide to former US President Bill Clinton in his role as the UN special envoy to Haiti, is staying on as the country's No 2 government official until legislators ratify a successor, a process that could take weeks and could prove tricky with an opposition-controlled Parliament.

Uneasy relations

Conille's abrupt resignation prompted Western diplomats, already vexed over the uneasy relations among government officials, to call for a swift replacement.

The administration picked Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Lamothe late on Wednesday as its nominee for prime minister, a senior government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the information.

Lamothe, a 39-year-old former businessman who specialised in telecommunications before turning to politics, is co-chairman of an economic advisory board along with Clinton.

Political agitation has been increasing.

Two days ago, a lawyer who claimed to represent Aristide told a local radio station that the government was preparing to investigate the former president on criminal charges. Haiti's justice minister denied that, and Aristide's attorney in Miami said he did not know the man who made the announcement.

But the claim was enough to put Aristide supporters on edge.

"We're telling Martelly to be careful," said Jean-Claude Jeanty, a protester. "If the government plans to arrest him, we're going to burn the country down."

The demonstration began in front of the downtown parish where Aristide once preached as a priest. Protesters then marched through the shanty strongholds that supported Aristide and sang about how they would not betray the ex-president.

There were a few incidents in which rocks and bottles were thrown at the demonstrators and they retaliated by doing the same. A few people suffered minor injuries.

Heavy police presence


Protesters also challenged Martelly, a globe-trotting musician before he entered politics, to present his passport to several senators who believe that he holds dual citizenship, which would bar him from office.

The government has denied Martelly holds double nationality, but he has angered his opponents further by saying he is under no obligation to show his travel documents.

When protesters passed in front of the National Palace, they directed their anger toward Martelly and chanted: "We know you're not Haitian. You need to bring your passport. If you're not Haitian, turn in your passport."

The demonstration ended in front of Parliament amid a heavy police presence as lawmakers critical of Martelly stood on carnival trucks and made speeches.

"President Martelly doesn't respect any institutions," lawmaker Arnel Belizaire told The Associated Press. "He thinks running the country is like running a show."

- AP

Read more on:    jean-bertrand aristide  |  michel martelly  |  haiti
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Bellville - 09:23 AM
    Road name: Voortrekker Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bill Bezuidenhout Avenue
  • Friday Parow - 09:17 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    HEAVY DELAYS between Plattekloof Road and the M5 Koeberg Interchange
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be putting too much effort into someone or something. You are doing it out of love and compassion but there is a chance...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.