clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

HAITI'S MILITARY BANS ALL DEMONSTRATIONS

Haiti's military government has banned all public demonstrations and has told the country's police "to take all necessary measures" to maintain public order, it said in a communique.

The de facto government of Emile Jonassaint said it "forbids street demonstrations," in a statement issued late Tuesday.The order came hours after thousands of Haitians took to the streets in violent protests against the military that has ruled the Caribbean nation for almost three years.

The mostly poor supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide threw rocks and rotting coconuts at baton-wielding police. One man was clubbed to death by the police and one officer was shot in the chest, according to a U.S. soldier who saw the man whisked away in an ambulance.

American troops who landed peacefully in Haiti Monday were ordered by their commanders not to interfere.

Further complicating the Americans' mission is the fear that their very presence could embolden Haitians to seek revenge against the military regime. And if the U.S. troops stay aloof, they run the risk of being seen as allies of the hated Haitian soldiers and police.

Some of the Haitians at the port on Tuesday became angry when the U.S. soldiers failed to protect a man who, according to witnesses, was clubbed to death by a Haitian policeman.

"I think we knew that there would be a problem in terms of violence of Haitians against Haitians and that the United States would have to carefully define its role," said U.S. Embassy spokesman Stanley Schrager.

"We're obviously disappointed that it's working out the way it is, but . . . it was not intended to serve as an internal police force."

The demonstrations were the first since the Haitian military grabbed power in the September 1991 military coup and the first since a Sunday accord aimed at returning Aristide to power by Oct. 15.

The communique from the pariah government said "professional agitators from a well-known sector" were responsible for organizing the protests. It did not give details, but the communique was believed to be a reference to Aristide's supporters.

The Jonassaint regime called on the police to "take all measures to protect the security, the lives and goods of all Haitians and foreigners living in Haiti."