Haiti demonstrator shot dead

One demonstrator was shot dead and five others wounded when gunmen took to the streets to break up an anti-government demonstration in Haiti's capital.

    Protests have turned increasingly violent in recent weeks

    Anti-protest militias caused many to hide in allies and on rooftops on Sunday, preventing thousands of anti-government demonstrators from marching through the streets of Port-au-Prince.

    The demonstrators were protected by dozens of police officers, but injuries occurred before and after the demonstration.

    Five people were shot in the street outside a state-owned television station along the route of the marchers but before they had arrived on the scene. A local radio station said at least two of the wounded were shopkeepers.

    As marchers retraced their steps to return to their homes and cars, armed men in trucks drove around the city, firing their weapons.

    Fatal shooting

    One demonstrator was hit and killed by a bullet, witnesses said. A local hospital confirmed that one person had been fatally shot and three others were treated for gunshot wounds.

    The protest, like many in recent weeks, was organized by leaders of a coalition intent on forcing President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign.

    President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
    has seen popularity vanish 

    Several thousand students and others walked and ran up and down the capital's hilly streets for almost four hours, chanting anti-Aristide slogans.

    The police, recently criticised by demonstrators and the international community for failing to protect anti-Aristide demonstrators, were repeatedly applauded by protesters as they chased and arrested attackers.

    Some chanted, "Down with Aristide; long live the police!" and "Down with Aristide; long live the students!"

    Discontent

    One demonstrator, a student and off-duty police officer who feared the consequences if his name was revealed, said he marched because "Aristide leads a country in which impunity and criminality rule."

    He said: "Police can provide security if Aristide wants them to. If he doesn't want them to, they can't."

    Aristide, Haiti's first democratically elected president, has seen his popularity plummet in recent years amid a worsening economy and charges of corruption and human rights
    abuses.

    Demonstrations, strikes and gatherings calling for his resignation have dominated the local news in recent months.

    SOURCE: AFP


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