Tue, May 18, 2010
World > Africa > Strong quake rocks Haiti

Marchers decry Haiti leader for quake response

2010-05-18 02:40:55 GMT2010-05-18 10:40:55 (Beijing Time)  

People, one holding up an image of Haiti's former President Jean-Betran Aristide, demonstrate against Haiti's President Rene Preval's government in front of police officers in Port-au-Prince, Monday, May 17, 2010. (AP Photo)

Haitian protesters marched to the collapsed national palace for a second straight Monday to criticize President Rene Preval, saying he failed the nation in the aftermath of its catastrophic earthquake.

At least 1,000 people marched to the center of the wrecked capital, where local police and U.N. peacekeepers stood guard. Tens of thousands more watched from the plastic-tarp-covered plots where they have lived since the Jan. 12 disaster.

The protesters said that Preval has failed to help an estimated 1.5 million people left homeless by the quake and that he overstepped his authority by saying he would remain in office for up to three months beyond his term if elections cannot be held by late November.

Many chanted for the return of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Preval rose to power as Aristide's prime minister, and many consider the president a traitor for not returning him to Haiti.

At least one person was killed near the protest, but it was not immediately clear if he was participating in the march. Police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said the victim was a suspected thief killed by a mob. The young man's lifeless body lay unattended in a street near the former national cathedral, his head cracked open.

Lerebours said that in an unrelated incident, a man was shot and wounded by unknown assailants. Some protesters blamed police for the shooting.

Eleven protesters were arrested for violent acts, authorities said.

"They were troublemakers who wanted to interrupt the peaceful demonstration," said a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission, George Ola-Davies.

Thousands marched early last week over the same issues, with one person wounded by a bullet. Larger protests are expected Tuesday as the country marks its Flag Day.

(Agencies)

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