Originally: UN chief condemns violence during pro-Aristide rally in Haiti
Announcer: The commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, disapproves of the attitude of the Lavalas demonstrators today. There was nothing peaceful about the demonstration held today by the Lavalas militants, Gen. Augusto Heleno Ribero Pereira said. According to him, these individuals are just architects of violence and do not want peace to prevail in the country. General Heleno said that he can now understand the reaction of the police, who had to use force against the Lavalas militants. General Heleno spoke as follows:
Reporter: General Heleno, these people are throwing stones at the troops.
General Heleno: Well, they are young people who are not in favor of peace. It is possible that they have people behind them who are encouraging them to do these kinds of things, but we are not going to react directly against them. We have sent out forces to show that they should not act like that. Anyway, we will avoid shooting at them, because they do not know what they are doing. Most of them are very young. I think it is unfortunate for somebody to act in this way, but we are not affected by that.
We are used to working in risky situations. Our intention is to show that there are some people in Bel-Air who asked for permission to demonstrate, even though they are not really peaceful people. They do not want peace and they do not want to demonstrate peacefully. They want to spread chaos and disorder. What they want is to destabilize the country. Anyway, this was a good experience, because today it was clear that we were dealing with an illegal demonstration.
We executed the orders of the MINUSTAH chief, who told us to accompany today’s demonstration. But the people in charge did not follow the rules for holding a demonstration authorized by the police. We even showed support to these people by coming here in the morning with our vehicles and patrolling the area.
They showed us their itinerary and agreed on it, but once the demonstration started they changed the itinerary. This clearly shows that, on one hand, there is MINUSTAH, which is working in favour of peace, which wants to honor its word, which respects its word, which has a peaceful intention, which wants to accompany the political dialogue process, and which wants to help the country. On the other hand, there were people in the demonstration who do not honor their word. We cannot say that all of them are the same, but some of them do not honor their word. Some of them do not want peace; they want to demonstrate violently by throwing stones. They are even able to shoot at legal troops.
So we have come to the conclusion that when people say they are violent, it is possible that they had reason to use force, because there are people who do not want peace. There are people who do not want to demonstrate peacefully, who do not want to hold democratic demonstrations in a country that wants to emerge from the crisis and have a new beginning.