by Tony Savino (Haiti Liberte)
Haitian police in St. Marc grabbed and severely beat a popular teacher from a street band slowly winding along Route Nationale #1 on Sunday night, Jan. 20. The police did not like that the rara procession, a traditional practice in the days before Carnaval, was blocking traffic and reportedly grabbed the teacher at random and beat him up. As one local business owner commented, "the cops messed with the wrong person this time, because the teacher is a mild-mannered gentleman who is well-known and respected in the community."
Word quickly spread about the beating, and, to protest, local youth blocked Route Nationale #1, the main link between Port-au-Prince and Haiti's northern cities. Trucks were commandeered and used to block the road. Protesters repelled local police attempting to clear the road Sunday night. On Monday morning, UDMO police along with MINUSTAH occupation troops arrived and fired tear gas at protesters Youths responded by throwing rocks and bottles. At least one protester was arrested, and several were beaten by police.
On Jan. 21, the Haitian police’s UDMO unit and MINUSTAH troops clear trucks used by St. Marc demonstrators to block Route Nationale #1.
Photo by Tony Savino