SWAT units kill peaceful pro-Aristide marchers
 May 18 2004

News HaitiAction.net

Haitian Police kill peaceful demonstrators
as U.S, "Peacekeepers" stand by.
WARNING - Graphic photos
click here to see all 12 images

by the Haiti Information Project (HIP)

May 18, 2004
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Special Forces units (SWAT) of the Haitian National Police (PNH or Police Nationale de Haiti) killed Lavalas demonstra-tors today in Port-au-Prince as a larger U.S. Marine "peacekeeping" force of about 50 soldiers stood by.

About 6,000 Lavalas demonstrators in one of many separate marches tried to converge near the Champ De Mars for a larger demonstration. The march had been planned for some time and the organizations that planned the march received written approval by the PNH to hold this demonstration on Haitian Flag Day.

It is hard to estimate the actual size of the demonstration but figures of 30,000 to 60,000 different demonstrators in various parts of the city seem credible.

A contingent of about 50 U.S. Marines patroled every hour at the start of one march in Bel-Air trying to intimidate the population there. One of the marines officers in command tried to threaten an American journalist who was filming the action. Whenever, any of the groups of marchers tried to reach Champ de Mars a SWAT unit would "appear out of nowhere" and commence shooting into the crowds of demonstrators.

Reports of similar killing is coming in from different areas of the city. Nine people were reportly killed May 18 by the Swat team in this combined effort with the U.S. Marines-HIP is currenlty investigating the reports of the victims. The Marine's seem to be coordinating this carnage, and are standing by with heavy artillery in case the population tries to stop the killers.

Recently the U.S. Marines have been directly involved in the current violent political repression of Lavalas activists. Last week the Marines used explosives to gain access to Annette Auguste's home before they arrested her and her family on the pretense that she was arming Lavalas militants to attack the Marines during Haitian Solidarity Week. No weapons were witnessed or found in possession of any of the protesters today.

Even though the demonstrators were rather angry no rocks were thrown or violence was witnessed to provoke the shooting.

One demonstrator-Titus Simpton, 23-who was shot 30 yards in front of the journalist lay dying of a gunshot wound to the head. The only item in his possession was a Walkman disk player.

Another SWAT unit twice shot at the same photographer and left the scene in a black Pathfinder license plate: 1-0060.

Later reports indicate that the U.S. Marines have begun reprisals for the large show of solidarity, once darkness descended on Port-au-Prince

More details on this tragic event later.

©2004 Haiti Information Project - This SWAT unit-that reportedly contains former members of the military-fired directly on a peaceful demonstration while U.S. Marines stand by.
©2004 Haiti Information Project - Many contingents of peaceful marchers, like this one of over 6,000 tried to converge on Champ de Mars from different areas of Port-au-Prince. This group started out from Bel-Air and was heading down Rue du Camp de Mars towards the National Palace when they were fired on by the Haitian Special Forces (SWAT) while U.S. Marine "peacekeepers" stood by to allow the killing. - Port au Prince - May 18 2004
This marine unit said nothing to Haitian National Police as they shot peaceful demonstrators, but the officer in charge immediately threatened this American photographer with arrest.

WARNING - Graphic photos
click here to see all 12 images to this story

photos: © 2004 Haiti Information Project