|| Ezili Danto
Direct from Haiti
Jean's Report on the May 18, 2005 Demonstration
ML: I need to write something on how the demonstration was in general and I would also like for you to address the facts regarding deaths and injuries. You wrote to say that two people died yet other sources only mention one. I would like for you to confirm whether or not you have the victims' names and what happened?
Jean: Well, it's during the Solèy demonstration. First of all Solèy went to Bèlè and on the way, behind HASCO, around Brant's factories, the men in black were standing on rooftops, automatic weapons at the ready, they were (....) at the demonstrators. While the MINUSTHA armored vehicle protected the demonstrators, they moved on indeed, going through St Martin, on to Bèlè. There was a first incident where a child was protected by MINUSTHA, preventing bloodshed. Indeed the men in black were on the warpath since Delma 3, they were aiming at the demonstrators, but since MINUSTHA soldiers hurriedly moved to an adjacent position, they did not shoot. When the demonstrators reached the Airport crossroad the same scenario was played out. When they got to Christ Roy and again aimed at the demonstrators, Kevin Pina (a journalist) had his camera. They stopped him and threatened him...
ML: They who, MINUSTHA or the Haitian Police?
Jean: Both the police and MINUSTHA threatened him. We continued on and when we reached Christ Roy the men in black arrested 5 people. They arrested 5 people that they took away to an undisclosed destination.
ML: Who arrested them?
Jean: The men in black...
ML: So they were there?
Jean: MINUSTHA was protecting the demonstration, but at every intersection the men in black would get there first and be waiting and forced MINUSTHA to hurriedly join them. This game went on and on where they would leave for the next intersection where the people had to call MINUSTHA to come and offer some protection. When we were going down from Christ Roy to Lalue, there were some MINUSTHA soldiers more interested in some young ladies than their duty. As they were chatting, and distracted, some "demonstrator" helped themselves to some MINUSTHA arms. They took one or two (rocket launchers?), (3 Q65 ?), and 1 Uzi. When the MINUSTHA soldiers appeared to realize what was happening, they stopped chatting, but it was too late. The perpetrators had already disappeared among the demonstrators, for it was a big crowd.
As the demonstration moved on Lalue reaching the traffic signal of Rue Lama, the original protection was offered by MINUSTHA that had stopped traffic all along Lalue in order for the demonstrators to move towards Bèlè. When we continued towards Bèlè, we continued by the former National Archives, pass Lycee Petion we stumbled onto the CIMO Police along with (...), (as they were masked) only the top of their head was not camouflaged. They had occupied the whole area of the Cathedral, threatening to harm demonstrators. As Kevin Pina was at the very front of the demonstration, in a car, he hurried to their position and used his camera to again film the action. They shouted: "white man get out of the way!" He responded: "I am a journalist", to which they said: "We don't give a damn about journalists!" They proceeded to tell him: "sooner or later we will find you..."
Kevin Pina proceeded to remind them that during the international press day commemorations, the colonel guaranteed protection to all journalists practicing their profession and that they could not stop a journalist's reporting; your threatening stance (...) At this very moment, we saw four cars coming full speed towards the action. Since a few more journalists had joined Kevin Pina and myself, MINUSTHA had to follow suit, forcing by their presence the CIMO Police to stop.
At that point, the demonstration engaged on the hill to bèlè and that is where the Solèy demonstrators allowed the demonstration to end and started to walk home to Site Solèy. As they were reaching Solèy, there is a very well known Police Officer named Sovè. I don't know his last name but will look for it, once I can reload my cell of minutes. He is attached to the Portail St Joseph local police precinct, near the market Tèt Bèf. He seems to belong to any and all police units. At times he will wear the black uniform, the blue or the (brown?); no one can figure out where he belongs. He came with his group and right away opened fire on the demonstrators, killing Joseph, whose last name I forgot, age 30, he died leaving to children, he lived in Solèy 19,...
ML: What is Joseph's last name?
Jean: Yes, I forgot the last name, but I will find it for you. If you call back later I will then give you the name. He left 3,...no 2 children and resided in Solèy 19 in the interior.
ML: How exactly did he die, was he walking...
Jean: He was part of the demonstration. He was leaving Bèlè reaching St Martin, around the gasoline station on St Martin. The perpetrators were hiding around the market Tèt Bèf. As the front of the demonstration was turning towards the old airport, they opened fire on the crowd. The victim was hit in the eye and fell on a pile of garbage. Right away, the Solèy demonstrators grabbed him and ran with the body all the way to Site Solèy. The other victim, according Rue St Martin witnesses, he resides in Rue St Martin. He was home, standing on his porch, looking at the demonstrators, he was hit by a bullet and killed on the spot.
ML: Do you know his name?
Jean: No, I don't know his name, I can only find the name for the victim from Solèy 19.
ML: So the second victim resides at rue St Martin?
Jean: Yes, Rue St Martin...
ML: Where was the MINUSTHA contingent when these people were shooting at the demonstrators on their way home?
Jean: Well, when the demonstrators were going to Bèlè MINUSTHA protected them. However, once they started home, back to Solèy, MINUSTHA was no longer protecting them. They went home unprotected for MINUSTHA left them. Indeed, once they reach the Gonaive station, the men in black were about to start searching the demonstrators. As MINUSTHA was getting close the men in black let the demonstrators go.
ML: OK, Thank You! Also, have you heard from the other parts of Haiti where they staged demonstrations?
Jean: (brief silence) I did not hear you...
ML: (repeats question)...
Jean: Well, according to the reports, it was Fanmi Lavalas in large numbers that demonstrated throughout Haiti yesterday. If it had not been for what they did to the demonstrators form Site Solèy, there would have been no arguments. MINUSTHA had stopped the traffic from Delma 2, as the demonstrators from Solèy reached Delma 2, the mood started to change. You heard shouts of: "Here comes Solèy!" The demonstrators from Bèlè who from afar were waiting for Solèy, as the front of the demonstration appeared exclamation of joy could be heard. Statements like: "Now we feel Solèy!" Indeed, the demonstrators were bravely chanting daring slogans such as: "If Drèd Wilme falls, Haiti as a country will crumble!" The slogans also targeted the National Police spokes woman, Mrs. Coicou. The people of Site Solèy explained that though they are held hostage, though they put them in quarantine, they expressed their conviction and determination to take to the street in spite of the imminent danger. They will accept death if they must, but will take to the street.
ML: About how many people were at the demonstration? Do you have a number... an approximation? Compared it to the demonstration of the 28 or April 27? How did you evaluate the crowd?
Jean: Of all the demonstrations stage since Aristide's departure, yesterday's demonstration was the only one that took over Port-au-Prince. There has been no bigger demonstration than the one staged yesterday!
ML: Well, thank you, thank you Jean. We will talk later to try and find out the name of the second man who died, as well as Joseph's last name. I will call you a little later.
Jean: I will get the information...
ML: Thank you. We'll talk...
Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network
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