Friday, May 20, 2005

Update: Killing of protester in Haiti on May 18

The message below was sent out on the Let Haiti Live! list serve, i have not yet found coverage of it in major media. Though Haiti Action covers the story in some depth. Any help in verifying and publishing more widely this revelation would be appreciated.

Police execute at least one protester in May 19 Flag Day Protest

One person participating in a May 18 Flag Day protest was executed by agents ofthe Haitian National Police while protesters from Cite Soleil were returninghome from Bel Air following the conclusion of the protest route. The May 18 protest began as two separate marches, one beginning in the neighborhood of Bel Air that moved in the direction of Delmas 2 and another originating in CiteSoleil that traveled in the direction of Delmas 2.

The groups converged at Delmas 2 at approximately 12 pm, at which point they marched in the directionof Route de Delmas. The march turned right at Carrefour Aeroport (Route deDelmas and Avenue Martin Luther King) and proceeded through Nazon, down AvenuePoupelard, down Lalue, and back into Bel Air. The march concluded at PlacePerpetuelle in Bel Air.Military and CIVPOL units of MINUSTAH provided heavy security at both the frontand end of the protest as well as in several key intersections. HaitianNational Police officers were only observed in scattered locations of theroute. MINUSTAH's presence prevented the police from entering in the protestroute and from firing on protesters during most access points of the main pointof the route.Two police vehicles, one containing CIMO officers in light khaki uniforms, andanother with officers dressed in black, were parked in the area of the cathedral at the bottom of Bel Air, out of sight of MINUSTAH (Photo Available [editors note: where is photo available?]).

A few officers were out of the vehicles, one with a gun pointed in thedirection of the protesters. A foreign journalist present at the sceneconfronted those were out of the vehicles by filming them at very short rangeand following them with his camera in hand. After another car with a foreignjournalist and an IJDH investigator arrived, a police officer was seen sendinga radio message to announce the presence of foreign observers. Approximatelytwenty hooded police officers appeared moments later from several differentlocations and quickly left the scene in police vehicles that had appeared witht hem. No police were observed following this confrontation. The actions ofthe foreign journalist and presence of foreign observors are likely to haveprevented police from firing on protesters at this time.

After the protest concluded in Place Perpetuelle, the group of protesters from Cite Soleil left Bel Air to return home. Protesters and a resident of Rue Saint Martin reported that upon arriving at the exit of Rue Saint Martin to Boulevard JJ Dessalines, a car with around 6 CIMO police officers pulled up tothe protest. Witnesses say that police officers removed at least one protester from the group and shot him in several places in his body.

He died while being transported to Cite Soleil in a wheelbarrow. IJDH later located the body onthe ground in Cite Soleil 17. Family members identified the body as that of Sanel Joseph, a resident of Cite Soleil in his mid-twenties. Bullet holes wereobserved in both of Joseph\'s arms, torso, and head. Protesters reported thatat least two other protesters were shot, one of whom was killed immediately and the other of whom was wounded. These two individuals are reported to have been transported by the police in a police vehicle."

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