Haitian police use tear gas to disperse pro-Aristide demonstration
AFPPORT-AU-PRINCE--Police fired in the air and used tear gas Monday to break up a protest in the Haitian capital in support of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
October 2, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
Several thousand demonstrators gathered in Port-au-Prince to mark the 22nd anniversary of a coup that toppled the ex-leader, who returned to the Caribbean nation from exile in 2011.
Those taking to the streets called on the current government led by President Michel Martelly not to “persecute” the former Roman Catholic priest.
One protester, Printemps Belizaire, shouted Martelly was “a good musician,” but he should “leave the leadership of the country to those who can do it.”
“We are occupying the streets today to denounce the excesses of power that threaten the democratic gains made by the Haitian people,” he said, standing before the police barricades.
Police lobbed tear gas and fired into the air to break up the group, according to an AFP reporter. But by midday, no injuries had been reported.
United Nations peacekeepers were also deployed to the scene.
Aristide — known as a champion of Haiti's poor and reviled by the elite — is still popular in the impoverished country.
In May, he appeared in court to testify before a judge over the assassination of a prominent journalist in 2000.
Questioned as part of a broad, long-running probe, that rare public appearance drew tens of thousands of supporters out into the streets.