[News] U.N./Police in Haiti launch major offensive against Cite Soleil

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Tue May 31 20:51:18 EDT 2005



U.N./Police in Haiti launch major offensive against Cite Soleil

May 31, 2005
http://www.haitiaction.net/News/HIP/5_31_5.html

The <http://www.teledyol.net/HIP/about.html>Haiti Information Project

Port au Prince, Haiti (HIP) - The U.N. and the Police Nationale d'Haiti 
(PNH) launched a major offensive today aimed at the pro-Aristide seaside 
slum of Cite Soleil. At least 3 people were killed and scores injured after 
U.N. and PNH security forces reportedly entered the area with "guns 
shooting everywhere" according to residents. St. Joseph's Hospital in Bois 
Verna, home to a project of the French organization Medicin Sans Frontier, 
reported their staff was having difficulty treating the increasing number 
of gunshot victims resulting from today's action.

In what appeared to be a response to the armed incursion, unknown 
assailants set fire to a large market in the old quarter of Haiti's capital 
known as Marche Tet Boeuf. There was general panic in the area as the 
flames spread and engulfed a nearby school. Gunfire reportedly rang out as 
people in the area were forced to run for cover prior to the outset of the 
fire. Radio stations in the capital reported soon after that Haiti's 
National Palace was also shot at.

The joint offensive by the U.N. and the PNH comes on the heels of tough 
talk and threats by the Haitian business community. Dr. Reginald Boulos, 
the President of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently 
demanded the U.S.-installed government allow the business community to form 
their own private security firms and arm them with automatic weapons. 
Boulos also suggested the Latortue regime allow businesses to withhold 
taxes for one month and use the money to buy more powerful weapons on the 
international market for the police force. "If they don't allow us to do 
this then we'll take on own initiative and do it anyway" Boulos stated.

Haiti's recent wave of violence and insecurity began after the Haitian 
police fired on peaceful marches in the capital demanding the return of 
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and freedom for political prisoners on 
Feb. 28 and April 27. At least 11 unarmed demonstrators were killed in the 
two attacks and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan recently echoed demands 
by human rights organizations for an investigation. Leon Charles, the Chief 
of Police, reflected the response and attitude of the U.S.-installed regime 
towards human rights considerations when he recently stated, "We are in a 
situation of war and confronting a movement of destabilization."

Recent violence in Haiti's capital has also decreased the chances of 
holding elections scheduled to begin in October of this year. The body 
overseeing the election process, the Provisional Election Council, 
announced on Monday that only 60,000 people have registered out of an 
eligible 4.5 million potential voters since registration began on April 25. 
Patrick Fequieres, president of the Electoral Operations Commission for the 
council, responded that at this rate of registration Haiti will not be 
ready for balloting until 2007.


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