HAITI: UN Shoots into Funeral Procession, Population Demands Preval Resign and Aristide Return

Posted on June 18, 2009

The UN Peacekeeping mission has never been a force for peace in Haiti for the same reason that Israel has never been1_245720_1_9 a force for peace in the Middle East– it is not to their advantage AND murdering Haitians/Palestinians has not been to their disadvantage.  The more that Israel can justify the threat from Palestinians, the more money it gets from the US.  The more that the UN can claim that the people of Haiti represent a security risk, the more often its mission is renewed by the UN Security Council.  MINUSTAH, the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, is due for renewal in October 2009.

Horribly and sadly, the UN could not resist provoking the people of Haiti today at the funeral of their beloved Father Gerard Jean-Juste.  Come to think of it, the Israelis execute Palestinians at the funerals of their relatives, don’t they?

More blood will be spilled in Haiti.

Marchers accuse UN of shooting at Haiti funeral

By JONATHAN M. KATZ – 17 minutes ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Gunfire broke out during a funeral procession Thursday for a popular Haitian priest, killing a man and prompting angry protests that could inflame government opponents with only days to go before elections in the troubled nation.

Marchers accused U.N. peacekeepers of killing the unidentified man during protests surrounding the funeral of the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, who was a close ally of exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The protesters are incensed by the presence of foreign troops on Haitian soil. U.N. peacekeeping spokeswoman Sophie Boutaud de la Combe said the shooting was under investigation and that an autopsy would be quickly carried out.

There has been no evidence produced that would definitively prove who shot the man. None of the protesters were seen holding guns and the shooting took place on a busy thoroughfare intersected by multiple cross-streets and alleys.

Jean-Juste was a Roman Catholic priest known as an advocate for the poor, both in Haiti and in Miami, where he led the Haitian Refugee Center. Mourners sang pro-Aristide songs and slogans throughout the ceremony, which was officiated by Haiti’s archbishop.

The shooting happened as about 2,000 people were carrying Jean-Juste’s flag-draped coffin to the presidential palace to protest President Rene Preval’s policies and his failure to bring Aristide back from South African exile.

Witnesses said some marchers had thrown rocks at Brazilian U.N. peacekeepers shortly before gunshots rang out, causing a panic and leaving one marcher dead in a pool of blood.

“He was our brother, and they killed him,” said a sobbing man who said he saw the shooting.

Most of Jean-Juste’s mourners continued on to the palace gates, unaware of the death at first. The casket was loaded into a hearse, to be carried to his birthplace in rural Cavaillon.

But as word of the shooting raced through the crowd, some mourners began smashing the windows of cars and buildings. Four men then carried the dead protesters’s body to the palace, laying it onto the same spot where Jean-Juste’s casket had been minutes before, and screaming for Preval to resign.

Haitian riot police moved in with shields and batons to make way for a police ambulance to remove his body. U.N. peacekeepers stood by across the plaza.

The shooting follows four weeks of protests led by medical students against the elimination of some classes from school curriculum, in favor of an increase in Haiti’s minimum wage and against the 9,000-member U.N. force that has been in Haiti since Aristide’s departure in 2004.

On Wednesday, student protesters attacked and burned a U.N. police vehicle.

Student-led demonstrations have preceded several recent upheavals, including the 2004 rebellion that ousted Aristide and the 1986 overthrow of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.

Jean-Juste died in early June at a Miami-area hospital following complications from a stroke and respiratory problems. He was 62. He was known for fighting on behalf of migrants in Florida.

He later returned to Haiti and was arrested in 2005 on suspicion of playing a role in the kidnapping and slaying of a prominent Haitian journalist. He denied any involvement, noting he’d been in Miami at the time of the killing. International human rights groups called the charges politically motivated.

While he was in jail, Aristide’s party registered Jean-Juste as its candidate for president. But the party was not allowed to run in 2006, instead throwing its support behind Preval, who had been Aristide’s prime minister. Lavalas supporters now consider Preval a traitor for failing to return Aristide from his South African exile.

The government released Jean-Juste from prison in 2006, prompting his return to Miami. Charges against him were later dropped, and he visited Haiti often in recent years, leading some 3,000 people in the capital’s Cite Soleil slum in a rally for Aristide’s return last April.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.