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8802: HAITIAN POPULACE FEARS FORMER MILITARY ATTACKS SIGNIFY A COUP IS IN MOTION (fwd)
From: Haiti Reborn <email@example.com>
HAITI REBORN/QUIXOTE CENTER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2001
CONTACT: Melinda Miles
301-699-0042 / 240-432-7414
HAITIAN POPULACE FEARS FORMER MILITARY ATTACKS SIGNIFY A COUP IS IN
Haitian National Police and Population Working to Protect Democracy
BRENTWOOD, MD - On Saturday morning, former soldiers boldly attacked the
police academy and one police station in Port-au-Prince, as well as two
police stations in the Central Plateau. The Haitian Government and
supporters throughout Port-au-Prince believe that this is the first
stage of an attempted coup d'etat by the former Haitian military. Some
police and personnel were killed, injured and some allegedly
disappeared, leaving no question as to the seriousness of the attacks.
Yvon Neptune, President of the Senate, stated: "A coup d'etat is
underway, in its political and military guises."
The new sense of security created in recent weeks by the "zero
tolerance" policy for criminals was one of the targets of these attacks.
People throughout Haiti have felt an increased confidence in the police
and justice system, but the former military attempted to destroy this
Saturday when they killed several Haitian National Police including one
who was a former soldier. Senator Lans Clones said, "When the serious
insecurity was decreased, when a sense of security was taking hold, the
former military wanted to put the people back into a coup d'etat and
without security again."
During the attack on the police academy, assailants executed one of the
heads of the academy with an audience. He was found with his hands tied
behind his back. At the jail in Petionville, inmates were forced to say,
"Long live the army." Four officers are confirmed dead, and at least ten
others were injured in the Port-au-Prince incidents. Reinforcing the
strong message to the public, the strike was timed to coincide with the
anniversary of the first U.S. military intervention in Haiti.
These attacks come at a critical juncture in negotiations between the
government and an opposition coalition known as the Democratic
Convergence. Agreement has finally been reached on a compromise to solve
the impasse resulting from contested elections held in May 2000.
Government spokespeople have stated that these events will not stop the
negotiations from continuing.
The Haitian National Police (PNH) have remained loyal to the
democratically elected government. The Government praised them Saturday
for upholding democracy, and reinforcing peace and stability in the
country. The PNH worked with the population of the capital during the
weekend to keep the city calm and to remain a protecting force against a
coup. Popular organizations are calling people into the streets to say,
"We will not allow another coup d'etat." Leaders of these popular
organizations believe these attacks were a test to see how the PNH and
the people would react. They believe this is only the first round.
Senator Neptune, also acting as head of the Lavalas Family political
party, reminded the population that it has only been months since a coup
conspiracy was exposed. In October 2000, police officers who were former
soldiers fled Haiti after their involvement in a plan to overthrow the
government was uncovered. "There is a certain sector whose strategy with
regards to the government is clear," said Neptune. "There is a coup
d'etat force in the country. They haven't gotten it out of their heads
yet and they still think that it is possible for the Army to return…"
Senator Neptune reminded elected leaders and people throughout Haiti "to
remain vigilant and at the same time mobilize for peace in the face of
all the forces of the coup d'etat."
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first democratically elected
president, was forced from power only eight months into his term by the
military in a violent coup d'etat that resulted in the deaths of 5,000
civilians between 1991-1994. He is now entering month seven of his
second term in office.
For more information, contact Melinda Miles, Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center
at (301) 699-0042, cell: 240-432-7414. Through relationships maintained
with human rights leaders and grassroots organizations throughout Haiti,
Haiti Reborn has access to the most up to date information on the
QUIXOTE CENTER - P.O. BOX 5206 - HYATTSVILLE - MD - 20782 -
(301)699-0042 - FAX 864-2182 - WWW.QUIXOTE.ORG/HAITI - HAITI@QUIXOTE.ORG