So we know the US is hammering Samarra. We know Israel is hammering Gaza, missile strikes and all, 74 killed in the past 4 days, 330 injuries, at leats, and counting.
But, let us not forget the Americas, since it seems every repressive US ally wants to get in on the act.
Take Colombia, for example, whose troops invaded Ecuador in a group of 70, searching houses and firing weapons, according to the FARC’s site ANNCOL. The Colombian Army is back to its old tricks of assassinations on the Venezuelan border as well, after a brief peace was made between Colombian President Uribe and Venezuelan President Chavez in July.
And why shouldn’t the coup-installed Haitian police get in on the action? In the Port-Au-Prince slum of Bel Air, Haitian police are besieging the place, killing people, taking bodies away — reports the Haiti Information Project (I’ll attach the report below). The United Nations, the same HIP reports, is playing a constructive role, standing around while the police provoke and commit violence.
HIP reports below.
October 2, 2004
Haiti slum under siege
Haiti Information Project (HIP)
Port au Prince,Haiti (HIP)– A slum in the capital is under siege from the Haitian National Police (HNP) following three days of violence and unrest. Heavily armed units of the HNP attempted to enter the slum of Bel Air at 9:00 p.m. last night and were met with armed resistance. Shots could be heard throughout the area for several hours as residents fought a pitched battle with the police who were forced to withdraw under heavy fire.
Bel Air is a slum in the capital of Port au Prince that has served as a launching site for recent demonstrations commemorating the thirteenth anniversary of the 1991 military coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide. On September 30th the police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators provoking an attack against a unit of the Unite de Securite Presidentielle (U.S.P), a special security detail assigned to Interim President Boniface Alexandre. Members of the special police unit were seen firing on demonstrators and collecting bodies before masked gunmen returned fire killing three and wounding a fourth who later died in the hospital.
Residents of Bel Air claim that six persons were wounded and one killed during last night’s police raid. There are no reports of casualities from the police who have yet to acknowledge the nighttime raid. Partisans of Aristide’s Lavalas political party, who are calling for his return following his forced ouster on February 29th, stated they are preparing for further actions by the police and the possibility of UN troops being used against them in Bel Air.
October 1, 2004
Haiti Protests: UN/Brazilian Troops stand-by as Haitian police provoke
Haiti Information Project
Port au Prince, Haiti (HIP) – Last September 11th more than 10,000 Lavalas militants took to the streets to demand the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The marchers were accompanied by a large contingent of Haitian police who returned fire when unidentified gunmen shot at the demonstration as it passed the Office of National Insurance on Delmas 17. The crowd immediately took up the chant, “Down with the army. Long live the police!”
Another march was planned for September 30th marking the thirteenth anniversary of the military coup that overthrew Aristide in 1991. Although organizers for the march received permits from the Haitian National Police (PNH) it was clear from the beginning something was amiss. The first noticeable difference was the absence of police escorts that normally ride shotgun at the head and tail of these types of sanctioned demonstrations. These days the police are also aided by roving UN vehicles that monitor the negotiated route of the demonstration. They were conspicuously absent as well.
By 10:00 am it was evident this wasn’t going to be business as usual on the streets of Port au Prince. More than 10,000 singing and chanting Lavalas militants had already started pouring out of the slums of Bel Air and were marching towards the national palace. It was certain that if it the march continued it would swell to even greater numbers by midday despite reports that Lavalas militants from the Cite Soleil slum had just been ambushed by police and blocked from joining the march.
As the crowd approached the capital’s center known as “Champ Mars”, three armored personnel vehicles and an impressive line of Brazilian soldiers in full riot gear blocked their access to the street in front of the national palace. Despite the hurtling of a few insults by the crowd, intended for the UN troops Lavalas considers to be occupiers of Haiti, the march passed without incident and continued towards the old section of Port au Prince known as “La Ville.”
As the demonstration passed a street leading to the National Penitentiary, heavily armed units of the police SWAT team opened fire without warning on the crowd. People panicked and scattered in all directions knocking over goods of the local market place women in an effort to seek cover from the gunfire. The shooting continued sporadically for nearly twenty minutes as angry marchers began to break out car windows as they fled. On another side street a pickup truck with four policemen could be seen shooting and then stopping to collect the bodies of two of their victims. It was at this moment everything changed.
Up to this point, in what had been a peaceful demonstration, not a single weapon was brandished or seen among the marchers. Suddenly, according to witnesses, five men in masks appeared out of nowhere with small firearms. They surrounded the police in the small pickup truck and began to return fire. Despite the fact they were heavily outgunned by automatic weapons, they managed to catch the police in a deadly crossfire. Witness’s say that two of the police were killed almost immediately while a third died of his wounds in the hospital and the US-backed government is claiming a fourth was kidnapped by demonstrators. Justice Minister Bernard Gousse claims that there were no deaths reported among the marchers although several witnesses dispute this. This is understandable given that Lavalas marchers now collect bodies as they fall because they do not trust the current government to allow the families to give them a proper burial.
The official version being put out by the UN is that “a gunfight broke out between Aristide supporters and security guards at shops looted during the march” to cover the fact that the Haitian National Police provoked the incident by firing on unarmed demonstrators. Observers note this may also be to protect the Brazilian troops from embarrassment and explaining why they stood by as the Haitian police provoked the conflict. At the same time the UN is claiming that the violence occurred before the marchers reached the national palace, witnesses including many in the press, say this is not the case.