Paramilitaries shoot Aristide supporters.

Reports are surfacing from many neighborhoods in the capital of paramilitary forces aligned with the US-backed regime of Latortue patrolling at night and shooting suspected supporters of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Witnesses in the neighborhoods of Delmas 19, 30, 32 and 33 report heavily armed men in civilian clothes pulling up in cars and commandeering intersections at approximately 6:30 PM for two nights in a row. “They stop you and ask you political questions about Aristide and Lavalas. They ask you what you think about Latortue. If they think you like Aristide they will shoot you where you stand. I saw two young men I know that were killed that way Friday night. We are terrified and many people have left Delmas 30 out of fear” said 52 year-old resident Gladys who declined to give her last name.

This new development comes after four days of confrontations between the Haitian National Police (PNH) and supporters of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Family Lavalas party. Violence broke out throughout the capital of Port au Prince on September 30th after the police fired at unarmed demonstrators demanding Aristide's return. Bel Air, a slum in the capital that has served as a launching site for recent Lavalas demonstrations, is under nightly siege by the police. According to witnesses elements of the PNH attempted to enter Bel Air for a second straight night in a row and were repelled by residents.

Political tensions ratcheted up further after three Lavalas representatives were arrested yesterday 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 announced it would suspend broadcasting indefinitely in protest.

[Source: The Haiti Information Project (HIP), Port au Prince, Hti, 03oct04]

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small logoThis document has been published on 20oct04 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights.