PETIT-GOAVE, Haiti (defend.ht) – President Michel Martelly and the U.S. Ambassador Pamela White were on route to inaugurate a new road in the coastal town of Petit-Goave when the delegation was met by a group of young men on motorcycles who shouted ‘Aba Martelly’. Police beat the protesters, killed livestock and fired tear gas during a melee to disperse the crowd. Allegedly an elderly woman died in her home asphyxiated by the tear gas.
“The National Police violently repressed the protest,” is the way it is being reported in the gulf town. The police utilized batons to disperse the young men protesting the high cost of living. Tear gas was fired and people were injured and several animals were killed. A woman of 80 years who was in her home is being said to have died from asphyxiation due to the gas.
Officers of the UDMO say the protesters had blocked Route National 2 where the presidential delegation and U.S. Ambassador were traveling to inaugurate a 1.25km strip of road funded by USAID. This Thursday protest was the third day in a row of protests in Petit Goave.
Regarding the late Facilia Hyppolite, 80, who passed that Thursday afternoon: according to Radio Kiskeya, Petit-Goave Police Commissioner, Wilman Cetoute, who spoke off the record, questioned the responsibility of law enforcement. He said the woman lived miles away and felt police were right to disband the protesters for blocking the roadway.
“These are not demonstrations, even if they were to last for five years, that will not solve the problem of high cost of living,” President Michel Martelly said speaking that day.
U.S. Ambassador White earlier in the week similarly minimized the plight of Haitian citizens protesting the high cost of living and unemployment with a tweet on twitter :
Lawyer Gilest Bruniole, representing persons damaged by the intervention of the police said rather than accompanying the people in their misery the government chose to send police officers to beat them. It has been the third of three straight days of demonstrations in this town.
Mr Bruniole denounced the disposition of the state that he says wants to silence voices of discontent. The lawyer denounced the “political carnival” held on Monday when President Michel Martelly led a kanaval-style counter-manifestation from the international airport to the National Palace.