Chain of Protest – 47 Cities Say “Stop the war against the Haitian people” on September 30th
Outrage at the ongoing and bloody US-led war on the Haitian people sparked protest activities in 47 cities, 17 countries and 4 continents, as part of the September 30, 2005 International Day of Solidarity with the Haitian People. The linked chain of protest reached into three countries in Africa, five in Europe, two in North America and seven countries in Latin America and theCaribbean
From Port-de-Paix in northwest Haiti, to the Congo and South Africa, to Norway and Ireland, to Guadeloupe and all across the US and Canada, people turned out to tell Washington, the United Nations and the regime they are propping up in Haiti — Stop the massacres of the poor . . .Restore the democratically elected government of President Aristide . . .Free the political prisoners . . .End the brutal US/UN occupation . . .Stop the war against the Haitian people!
Brazil and Chile — suppliers of soldiers and commanders for the UN shock force in Haiti — both saw militant demonstrations demanding “Troops Out of Haiti!” Cities with large Haitian populations like Miami, Boston, New York and Montreal got into the streets . Youth rallies for Haiti happened in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Ekurhuleni, South Africa . In San Francisco 18 were arrested on federal charges, for blocking entrances to the Federal Building with their bodies to protest the US-sponsored war on the Haitian people . [See below for a blow-by-blow account of Haiti solidarity actions in the 47 cities .]
Haiti Liberation Day – Nov . 18 – Anniversary of the Haitians’ Defeat of Napoleon in 1803
The September 30th Organizing Committee and Fondasyon Trant Septamn urge you to participate in another major solidarity event — to commemorate Haiti Liberation Day, November 18, 2005. On this day 202 years ago, Haitian liberation forces led by Jean-Jacques Dessalines won a decisive victory over the French slaveholders’ colonial army in the battle of Vertieres, nearCap Haitien. This victory led directly to independence and proclamation of theRepublic ofHaiti on January 1, 1804.
On February 29, 2004 the US, France and Canada led a coup against the democratically elected government ofHaiti. Since thenHaiti has been under foreign occupation, for the last 17 months by the UN “proxy army” arranged by theUS and authorized by the UN Security Council.
And just as Napoleon’s Army in 1803 was a multinational army with soldiers from many European countries, so today’s MINUSTAH, the UN army, is composed of soldiers from Jordan, Chile, the US, France, Canada and 15 other countries — with the same objective, to crush the aspirations of the Haitian people and re-establish colonial rule .
The Haitian people have the opposite objective — to complete the liberation begun on November 18, 1803 .
That’s why Haiti Liberation Day is so relevant today, and why we are encouraging demonstrations, teach-ins or other activities on or around November 18th . This coincides with a week of already scheduled Haiti events — including a Pan-Canadian Week of Action in Solidarity with the Haitian People, Nov . 12-20, organized by the Canada Haiti Action Network, and the second session of the International Tribunal on Haiti to be held 11/19 in Boston . Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .
Actions in 47 cities with one message: “Stop the War against the Haitian People”
At least 58 demonstrations r other solidarity actions took place in 47 cities, 17 countries and four continents, as part of the September 30, 2005 International Day of Solidarity with the Haitian People.
1 . San Francisco — 75 people turned out for an early-morning rally and sit-in at the Federal Building on 9/30, to protest the US-sponsored war on the Haitian people . Eighteen were arrested for blocking the entrances to the Federal Building with their bodies, as the crowd held the plaza for nearly 3 hours . Participants in the civil disobedience action face federal charges, including Sister Stella Goodpasture, of the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, just back from a solidarity mission to Haiti, and Father Louis Vitale, on the day of his retirement as the activist pastor of St . Boniface Church . “The Haitian people will never accept being re-colonized or re-enslaved,” Pierre Labossiere of the Haiti Action Committee told the crowd . “We will never allow the former slave-owning nations to come back and run our country and dictate who our leaders will be . Haiti’s struggle is one of national liberation .”
2 . Kinshasa, Congo — A ceremony in solidarity withHaiti was performed on 9/30 at theFlamingFireChurch in the Congolese capital ofKinshasa. The ceremony, recalling highlights in the history ofHaiti and the significance of this history forAfrica and for the world’s people, was videotaped for showing in the provinces and on Congolese National Television.
3 . Miami — Demonstrators gathered at mid-day on 9/30 at the consulate general of Brazil, whose general commands the brutal UN military force in Haiti that was responsible for the July 6th massacre in Cite Soleil and other mass killings of civilians by UN forces . This was the latest of many demonstrations at the Miami Brazilian consulate, since the first one July 13th led by Father Gerard Jean-Juste . [On July 14th, this beloved fighter for human rights was detained at the Miami and Port-au-Prince airports . A week later he was beaten and arrested in Haiti, hours after publicly denouncing the atrocities of the coup regime on the radio, and remains imprisoned .]
4 . Washington, DC — “A lively group of demonstrators gathered in front of the Haitian Embassy on 9/30 as part of the 47-city protest.Haiti’s illegal ambassador, Raymond Joseph, was just arriving as we approached the front of the embassy. We greeted him with a myriad of chants and he disappeared inside. Later we delivered to the embassy a copy of the International Declaration of Solidarity with the People of Haiti. We displayed large blow-ups of graphic photos of Haitian victims of both the Haitian National Police and UN ‘peacekeeping’ troops. Cars slowed down, often causing traffic jams, to look at the pictures and read our signs. Motorists blew their horns in support for nearly three hours.” – Report from a participant.
5 . Durban, South Africa— A rally for Haiti on 9/30 at the SaintRegisBuilding in Durban . The program opened with one minute of silence “to remember the fallen in the struggle for democracy since February 29, 2004” coup d’etat in Haiti . Participants joined in preparing a memorandum for presentation to Kofi Annan, to President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, and to the US, French and Canadian embassies in Pretoria-South Africa, highlighting the five demands of the Sept . 30 international actions (see below) .
6 . Sao Paulo, Brazil — On the evening of 9/30 a large youth-oriented rally for Haiti took place at the union hall of the Sao Paulo Municipal Workers Union . Organized with the participation of the Unified Black Movement (MNU) and young workers from the CUT labor federation, the event featured a Haiti-themed performance by a youth rap group . Rally speakers, including a representative of the Black Militant Commission associated with the Workers Party of Brazil, called for an end to the United Nations occupation of Haiti, withdrawal of Brazilian troops, and respect for Haiti’s sovereignty . The rally was billed as “an integral part of the International Day in Solidarity with the Haitian people on September 30th .”
7 . Santiago, Chile— Mid-day picketing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 9/30 . A Committee for Haiti has been formed, with various organizations participating . According to one statement issued by protesters: “On September 30th activists . . . from various countries will come out together in solidarity with the Haitian people, currently suffering from one of the most brutal military occupations in the world, sponsored by the UN, the US, and certain Latin American governments such as Chile, Brazil and Argentina . . . .Just like in the times of Pinochet, the Chilean military has shown the world that it hasn’t lost its skills for torture, killing and kidnapping when it comes to facing social fighters . . . .We are taking part in this protest out of a profound feeling of Latin American brotherhood, of working-class and popular unity . . .”
8, 9 & 10 . Ottawa — Canadian labor activists organized a mid-day forum 9/24 on “Workers’ Rights after the Coup in Haiti,” with Paul Loulou Chery, Secretary General, Confederation of Haitian Workers (CTH), Haiti’s largest labor organization . . . .The activists then marched to Confederation Park, chanting End the occupation of Haiti; Liberez Pere Jean-Juste; and Liberez So’Anne. Joining up with the big anti-war demonstration, they marched to Parliament Hill where Ottawa Haitian community leader Jean St.-Vil gave a fiery speech about the war onHaiti’s people. At each stop of the anti-war march, as it moved through downtown to theUS embassy, MC’s referred to the situation inHaiti….On 9/30 a squad of activists did informational picketing and leafleting aboutHaiti in the Canadian capital.
11, 12 & 13 . New York City — A mass for Haiti was held on the morning of October 1st at Holy Innocent Church in Brooklyn . . . .Following the mass there was a march sponsored by Committee against Genocide in Haiti, beginning at the church, following
, and ending with a rally on
. Participants lit candles for victims of state-sponsored violence in Haiti, and held up enlarged pictures of maimed bodies hacked or shot by the UN or Haitian National Police . . . .On 9/30 an evening Solidarity Encounter between Haiti, Dominican Republic and Venezuela was held at the Venezuelan Consulate, during which prominent speakers from the three countries elaborated on the theme: “Same History–Same Struggle .”
14 . Oslo, Norway — A public meeting was held on 9/30 at Soria Moria, on the theme, “Stop the Black Holocaust”.
15 . Benin, West Africa — A vigil inBenin vowed “to take up the message of September 30th and revive the flame of our friendship withHaiti.”Benin supplies troops and police for the UN occupation ofHaiti.
16 . Dublin, Ireland — Demonstration for Haiti on 9/30 at Central Bank,
. Protesters held up a large Haitian flag and signs in English and Irish Gaelic saying Stop the Terror in Haiti . Organizers issued this statement: “On September 30, 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown as President of Haiti by a coup d’etat, which brought in a regime of terror lasting three years . On February 29, 2004, he was overthrown by a second coup, organised by the USA, France and Canada . This coup was disgracefully endorsed by the Security Council of the United Nations . The same people who terrorised the people in 1991-1994 now form a ‘transitional government’ . They have not changed . They carry out arbitrary arrests, disappearances and massacres, unrestrained by the presence of United Nations troops . MINUSTAH, as the UN force is called, far from protecting the people, has been actively involved in the repression and terror .”
17 & 18 . Vancouver — Demonstration for Haiti on 9/30 outside the Main Library, chaired by a delegate from the Vancouver & District Labour Council . One banner said, RCMP Out of Haiti!, referring to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which has been training and supplying the murderous Haitian National Police since the 2004 coup . One speaker denounced the foreign occupation of Haiti “that has resulted in thousands dead, thousands of political prisoners, thousands in hiding or exile,” saying Canada and Prime Minister Paul Martin “are guilty of crimes against humanity – SHAME!!” . The president of Local 400, Internat’l Longshore & Warehouse Union, called on Canadians to “stand beside the heroic people of Haiti and their just cause of national independence and democracy” . . . .On the evening of 9/30 there was a well-attended showing of the new Nicolas Rossier film Aristide and the Endless Revolution, to kick off the Vancouver International Film Festival. In all, 400 people saw the film during the festival.
19 . Brasilia, Brazil— A delegation of Congress members and leaders of the CUT labor federation went toPlanaltoPalace in the Brazilian capital on 9/30. They made three demands of President Lula da Silva: Withdrawal of all Brazilian troops fromHaiti…An end to the UN occupation ofHaiti…Respect forHaiti’s sovereignty. [Lula is a former leader of the CUT,Brazil’s largest labor federation.] This was a follow-up to a CUT/congressional protest on July 21 inBrasilia, where they presented a letter to Lula denouncing the July 6 massacre in Cite Soleil by UN troops under Brazilian command.
20 . San Jose, Costa Rica — On 9/30, an exhibition of photographs ofHaiti opened at the Colegio Universitario de Alajuela, in the Costa Rican capital, sponsored by the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress. Students were to put on a theatrical performance about the present-day reality inHaiti.
21 . Boston— Picket at the Haitian Consulate on the evening of 9/30.
22 . Newark, NJ — Noontime “Speak Out forHaiti” 9/30 at theFederalBuilding. Some demonstrators gathered earlier at an assembly point, walking with signs throughNewark streets to the speak-out.
23, 24 & 25 . France, Belgium, Switzerland — Haiti committees in Belgium, Switzerland and France issued a joint statement: “Today Haitians worldwide join with the people of Haiti to condemn the bloody US-backed September 30, 1991 coup d’etat intended to destroy our people’s march towards fulfilling our dream of social justice… .It’s been 14 years since September 30, 1991 which saw the reawakening of the powerful former slaveholders and their hatred of Haitian independence . . . .Today, on September 30, 2005 — 19 months and one day after the coup d’etat and kidnapping of February 29, 2004 — 47 cities vibrate with one same refrain: Stop the War Against the Haitian People! . . .Haitians abroad and in Haiti recommit this day to live free and, by any means necessary, to regain our sovereignty . Together we denounce the dictatorship and US/UN repression against the poor of Haiti . We commit to honoring our founding fathers and African ancestors, and fulfill our destiny as the pioneers of liberty-in-action in modern times . We call for a permanent mobilization of citizens of the world to stop the current re-colonization of Iraq and Haiti and for each people to be respected in their own lands .”
26 . Los Angeles — Mid-day rally & picket for Haiti on 9/30 at the Brazilian consulate in Beverly Hills, organized by a broad coalition . Demonstrators lined
, carrying signs and banners: No US/UN Rape of Haiti and Women Say: Brazil Stop Leading UN Troops against the People of Haiti .One speaker said that in both Haiti and New Orleans, racism and poverty are at the heart of the occupation and slaughter . A Beverly Hills cop threatened to confiscate the bullhorn that rally speakers were using, but the speak-out continued until all who had something to say were heard . A Brazilian official came outside to meet with them . U .S . State Department agents insisted on standing directly behind the Brazilian, supposedly “for his security .” It was obvious that the Brazilian representative was painfully embarrassed . His words were very measured and his main defense against charges that his government was assisting U .S . genocide in Haiti was “I’m not aware of these facts” and “Politics is very complicated .”
27 & 28 . Montreal — Haiti protest 9/30 at US Consulate General, noon to 3 pm . . . . On October 1, a showing in Montreal of the Katherine Kean film Rezistans, about the history of Haitian resistance.
29 . Toronto –Haiti meeting & film showing 9/30….Haiti workshop at Youth Action Conference.
30, 31 & 32 . Guadeloupe, Martinique and Dominica — Trade unionists in these three neighboring Caribbean islands held a labor speak-out for Haiti in Guadeloupe on 9/30 . . . .A statement issued by the Caribbean unionists declared: “On July 6, 2005 at least 50 civilian Haitians from Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, among which a child of four, were literally massacred by the UN occuping troops, according to numerous concordant eye-witnesses . . . .That is the situation in Haiti, the world’s first black republic, 201 years after its declaration of independence on January 1, 1804 .” The Caribbean trade unionists joined Brazilian labor and political figures in addressing an appeal to Brazilian President Lula: “The Haitian people has to make its own decisions as to its destiny, free from all foreign intervention . Withdraw all Brazilian troops from Haiti now!” . . . .A Caribbean labor conference in Roseau, Dominica, on July 30, including leaders of Union Generale des Travailleurs de Guadeloupe, called for “departure of all foreign troops from Haiti, whether under cover of the United Nations or not .” They said: “In February 2004 the elected president of Haiti, Aristide, was kidnapped . This kidnapping was condemned by the CARICOM countries as a ‘dangerous precedent’ for the entire region . Then the first Black republic in the world was occupied by UN troops under Brazilian command that spread death and desolation .”
33 . Minneapolis and St . Paul–Haiti rally 9/28 onLakeStreetBridge, joiningSt. Paul andMinneapolis.
34 . Charlottetown, Canada –Haiti meeting 9/29,IrvingTheatre, University ofPrince Edward Island.
35 . Hayward, California — Vigil for Haiti Sept . 29, at a busy intersection in Hayward .
36 & 37 . Portland, Oregon — Film showing of Kevin Pina film Haiti: Harvest of Hope at the People’s Food Cooperative on 9/28 . . . .On 9/30 Portland Haiti activists conducted a “call-in”, “fax blast” and “email blast” to contact US officials, MINUSTAH (UN) and Haitian government officials — “calling for a end to political persecution, the return of Haiti’s legitimate elected officials, release of all political prisoners, and for an end to the UN’s role in supporting the illegal Interim Government . These things must happen before elections can take place .”
38 . Enterprise, Oregon — Vigil forHaiti on 9/30 at theCountyCourthouse, sponsored by the Wallowa County Peace & Justice Network.
39 . Fredericton(New Brunswick,Canada) –Haiti meeting Sept 27 atUniversity ofNew Brunswick.
40 & 41 . Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) — Haiti meeting 9/30 at Dalhousie University . . . .Leading the anti-war march in Halifax on 9/24 was a Haiti contingent carrying a huge Canada Out of Haiti! banner .
42 . Tatamagouche ( Nova Scotia) — Screening of Kevin Pina film, Haiti: the Untold Story on Oct. 2.
43 . New Glasgow (Nova Scotia) — Public meeting forHaiti at New Glasgow library, Oct. 3.
44 . Antigonish (Nova Scotia) — Public meeting forHaiti at the Coady Institute on Oct. 3.
45 & 46 . Detroit — On 9/30, Haiti solidarity activists conducted an all-day “call-a-thon” demanding an end to the persecution of pro-democracy activists in Haiti and freedom for all political prisoners, as well as for an independent investigation into ongoing human rights violations by the coup regime and its backers….At Wayne State University on 9/30 students collected donations to send to women in the popular neighborhoods in Haiti who have been victims of sexual or physical assault since the 2004 coup.
47 & 48 . Amherst and Greenfield, Mass . — Two teachers fromHaiti visited westernMassachusetts Sept. 23-24, speaking about their program inHaiti called “Circles of Change –the gentle but revolutionary way they teach teachers through real dialogue and mutual respect, moving away from traditional hierarchy.” They spoke at the Jewish Community of Amherst synagogue, and again after the 9/24 anti-war rally, at a community room in the co-op food market inGreenfield.
49 . Huddleston, Virginia — The Parish Haiti Committee held a house meeting on Haiti and film showing on Oct. 5th, in unity with the call and demands of the Sept. 30 Day of Solidarity with Haiti.
50 & 51 . Portland, Maine — Vigil and leafleting forHaiti at a busy intersection inPortland….Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop of Detroit and a strong supporter ofHaiti, held a press conference at the Portland airport, and did an interview with a local television station. Bishop Gumbleton recently visited Father Jean-Juste in prison inHaiti.
52 . Columbus, Indiana — On 9/30 a Candelight Vigil and Teach-in for Haiti on the steps of City Hall, organized by the Columbus student chapter of Amnesty International, which issued this statement: “The purpose of this vigil is to stand together in solidarity with the people of Haiti, and: ~to express outrage at the brutality of the US backed current regime; ~to denounce its repression of the poor and its persecution of pro-democracy advocates; ~to recall Haiti’s history of suffering and injustice; ~to deplore our country’s part in this cruel history . . .We will light our candles against oblivion: ~for all those who are unjustly imprisoned; ~for those who have been raped and tortured; ~for those who have been massacred; ~for those who are hiding in terror . ~And we will light our candles for the people of Haiti who endure despite the never ending denial of their basic human rights to food, shelter, health, education, and safety .” Joining the vigil were members of Friends of Haiti (twinned with Limonad in N . Haiti), Columbus Peace Fellowship (affiliated with the Fellowship of Reconciliation), Catholic parish of St . Bartholomew, First Presbyterian Church, and Columbus Unitarian Universalist Congregation .
53 . Sydney, Nova Scotia — A public meeting on Oct . 4 on Canada’s role in Haiti, featuring author Yves Engler, at University College of Cape Breton, in unity with the call and demands of the Sept . 30 International Day of Solidarity with Haiti . Engler’s new book, co-authored with Anthony Fenton, is titled Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority .
54 . Ekurhuleni, South Africa — A Youth Rally on Oct. 2, in unity with the demands of the Sept. 30 Day of Solidarity withHaiti, in the South African city ofEkurhuleni, as “part of the buildup towards the February 2006 marches” planned by organizations including the Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania.
55 & 56 . San Jose, Calif . — Two protests were held inSan Jose on 9/30 — a lunchtime picket at the French Consulate, to protest the French role in the 2004 coup, and an afternoon picket at theFederalBuilding, to protest the leadingUS role in the coup and continuing repression inHaiti.
57 . Port-au-Prince, Haiti — On 9/30 an exposition of photographs and religious service at the Aristide Foundation in memory of the victims of the repression, followed by the personal testimony of some of the victims. It is worth noting that starting after midnight on 9/29, heavily armed motorized units of MINUSTAH, the UN military force in Haiti, entered the popular neighborhoods of Cite Soleil and Bel Air in a show of force — designed to intimidate people from demonstrating on 9/30, International Day of Solidarity with the Haitian People and anniversary of the 1991 coup. At least 40 citizens were arrested in these strongholds of support for President Aristide and his Lavalas political movement. Others were arrested in a similar pre-emptive sweep by armed units in Les Cayes, in the south ofHaiti. Right-wing radio stations participated in the campaign of intimidation by announcing that there would be “violence” if demonstrations took place Friday. Earlier the coup regime, in a clear violation of the Haitian Constitution, issued an order banning all public demonstrations until after October 2nd — clearly aimed at heading off the Sept. 30th pro-democracy demonstrations which have taken place with regularity for the last eight years, demanding justice and help for the coup victims.
58 . Port-de-Paix, Haiti — There was a street rally and demonstration on 9/30 at the Place d’Armes in this northwestern Haitian city, sponsored by the Association des Victimes du Nord-Ouest (AVINO), an affiliate of the September 30th Foundation.
The 47 cities participating in the Sept . 30 “Stop the War against the Haitian People” campaign came together around the following demands:
+ Stop massacres of the poor by UN troops, Haitian National Police & paramilitary mercenaries under police control .
+ Restore the democratically elected government of President Aristide.
+ Free Father Jean-Juste and ALL the more than 1000 political prisoners inHaiti’s jails.
+ End the brutal US/UN Occupation – RestoreHaiti’s sovereignty.
+ Open an independent inquiry into the February 29, 2004 coup and forced removal of Pres. Aristide – including the role of the US, France and Canada.
For more information, email the Sept 30th Organizing Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org .