Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Protesters criticise Haitian leader


Haitian protesters have marched to the collapsed national palace for a second week to criticise President Rene Preval, saying he failed the nation in the aftermath of its catastrophic earthquake.

At least 1,000 people marched to the centre of the wrecked capital, where local police and UN peacekeepers stood guard.

Tens of thousands more watched from the plastic tarpaulin-covered plots where they have lived since the disaster struck on January 12.

The protesters said Preval has failed to help the estimated 1.3 million left homeless by the quake and that he overstepped his authority by saying he would remain in office for up to three months beyond his term if elections cannot be held by late November.

Many chanted for the return of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Preval rose to power as Aristide’s prime minister, and many consider the president a traitor for not returning him to Haiti.

At least one person was killed near the protest, but it was not immediately clear if he was participating in the march. Police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said the victim was a suspected thief killed by a mob in a street near the former national cathedral.

Lerebours said that in an unrelated incident, a man was shot and wounded by unknown assailants, although some protesters blamed police for the shooting.

Thousands marched early last week over the same issues, with one person wounded by a bullet.

Larger protests are expected on Tuesday as the country marks its Flag Day.e

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