Haiti's police rough up Lavalas demonstrators commemorating Aristide's first victory

December 23, 2012
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Haiti's police rough up Lavalas demonstrators commemorating Aristide's first victory

HaitiAction.net - Port au Prince, Haiti — Haiti's police used excessive force in downtown Port au Prince last Sunday, December 16 to disrupt Lavalas demonstrators protesting the latest insecurity of the Martelly government. Twenty-six protestors — ten women and sixteen men — were arrested and taken to the National Penitentiary. A member of Haiti's Parliament, Deputy Arnel Belzaire, was unusually proactive in trying to obtain the freedom of all those arrested, risking arrest himself as well as bringing food for the victims. He spent the night at the jail.

The protesters said that they will continue to "hunt down" — meaning: to keep up these demonstrations — this government which has been particularly unresponsive to the youth and the voice of the People of Haiti. Continuous barrages of tear gas fell upon the protestors as they marched through the popular neighborhoods of Port au Prince which swelled to sizable crowd of a few thousand. Some of the march participants of the march claimed that the Minister of the Interior, Ronsard Saint-Cyr, sent in gangs from their base of Martelly supporters — one being led by Ronsa Sainsi — to provoke the activists and throw stones at the marchers as a pretense for the inevitable police riot.

Some of the musicians of the Rara marching bands, that accompany most demonstrations, lost their instruments in the fracas. Being, as it is, shortly before the bands try to make recordings for the upcoming Kanaval season, the loss is particularly difficult as many of the musicians come from the poorer neighborhoods of Cite Soleil and Bel Air and can't quickly come up with the money needed to buy replacements.

Several demonstrators were badly injured and are now in hospitals trying to recover from the police brutality. One of the organizers of the protest, Fanmi Lavalas leader Rene Civil, says that they will escalate these protests in response to the repression. The Sunday march was relatively modest in size to recent demonstrations. Turning out three times as many activists at a moments notice for a peaceful demonstration is not beyond the capacity of Fanmi Lavalas.

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HaitiAction.net is making a special fundraising call for the benefit of the Rara musicians that are trying to recover from last week's Manifestation and need to buy new instruments by January. Donations can be made online to the Rara Fund for now. If you wish additional information, send your questions to info@haitiaction.org

click fund logo above to donate

The Rara Bands are a vital component of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Haiti. Each band is usually organized around a community and the leaders (maestro) are usually pressed for other concerns of benevolence for that community. The HaitiAction.net readership has been quite generous in the past with their donations to Haiti through this news website; coming up with the resources to re-equip these musicians and their community will be a relatively simple goal.

As we prefer to encourage the benefits of a tax paying society, and that the Rara bands that we're involved with are striving for the full participation of Fanmi Lavalas in the electoral politics of Haiti this particular project is NOT tax-deductable.

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Contact: info@haitiaction.org

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