Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Massacre of football fans raises state terror fears in Haiti

Reed Lindsay:

AT LEAST eight people were shot or hacked to death when police and machete-wielding civilians went on the rampage among spectators at a "Play for Peace" football match in Haiti.

The game, in Port-au-Prince's hillside slum of Martissant, was funded by the United States government as part of a drive to steer young people away from gang violence, and what took place has fuelled fears of state-sponsored terrorism in the run-up to elections later this year.

Hooded police first went into the ground and ordered the 6,000 spectators to leave. Suddenly, gunshots rang out and people began to run for the walled ground's only exit.

Witnesses claim the police began firing wantonly.

Outside, more police and civilians armed with machetes - said by local people to be paid police informants known as "attaches" - attacked people trying to flee.

"They came to massacre us," said Nesly Devla, 20, who was struck with a machete. "Everyone was on top of each other. There was nowhere to run. God saved me."

One community leader claimed that at least 30 people were killed, some of them shot by the police. The killings come less than a month after two other machete attacks that also appeared to take place with police complicity.

The incidents all occurred in poor areas of Port-au-Prince considered bastions of support for Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the exiled former president.

Anne Sosin, of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, who criticised UN peacekeepers for not intervening, said she had confirmed the deaths of at least eight people but expected the death toll to be much higher.

"How can you explain police accompanied by individuals armed with machetes massacring spectators at a soccer match in broad daylight with UN troops standing by literally across the street?

"This event needs to serve as a wake-up call for the international community, which for more than a year has failed to respond to grave violations of human rights in Haiti."

The head of the international police force in the area, Lieutenant-Colonel Philippe Espie, of France, said the incident was being investigated, and suggested local people had decided to attack gang members attracted to the game.

5000 soccer fans in Haiti witness machete and hatchet massacre by police and death squads

More machete lynchings in Haiti: 7-20 hacked to death in Grande Ravine district

U.N. condemns 'lynching' in Haiti

New massacre in Haiti; Dominican Republic steps up deportations


At 5:38 AM, Blogger JH said...

Unfortunately, Reed Lindsay has disappointed us all and turned into an apologist for UN operations in Haiti. It is perhaps because he now has a vested interest by virtue of a NGO largely funded by his mother in Haiti. NGOs by definition have a vested interest in stability and presenting a rosy picture while the reality is otherwise.


The dire situation of Haiti's poor went largely ignored by Alexis' government and the United Nations. International press reports in the months leading to the open rebellion against hunger in the streets led casual observers to believe the situation was normalizing. The international press actually helped to obscure the reality of hunger and misery in Haiti. On March 8. 2008, Reed Lindsay reported in the Washington Times, "U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti say they are battling an image of fear that is keeping the Caribbean nation mired in hunger and disease, with little hope of attracting foreign visitors and investment.' Lindsay's fundamental point being that the only thing standing between Haiti and prosperity was merely the perception of ‘hunger and disease.'


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