Originally: UN commander in Haiti slams Lavalas demonstrators


Announcer Rotchild Francois Jr.: Some incidents occurred yesterday during the demonstration staged by the Lavalas militants in Bel-Air to demand the return of fallen President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti. The demonstrators, who were not able to reach an agreement with the national police about the route the demonstration was to take, threw stones at the UN blue helmets.

The Minustah commander strongly condemned the actions of the Lavalas scoundrels. Gen Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira had to make it clear to the Lavalas scoundrels that the national police is in fact the only legal force on the ground. He said that Minustah is no longer going to tolerate these kinds of actions on the part of the Lavalas scoundrels in demonstrations that are not authorized by the police. General Heleno explained about the incidents that occurred during the demonstration staged by the Lavalas militants yesterday.

General Heleno: Yesterday, I noticed that there was a part of the Lavalas party that does not want peace, that does not want to demonstrate in accordance with the democratic rules, that prefer to spread chaos and carry out violence. Nevertheless, it is important for people to understand that there is a part of the Lavalas organization that still wants to join the dialogue process and wants to participate in the democratic process.

But at the same time, there is another group of the Lavalas organization that is determined to practice violence and commit criminal acts. As far as we are concerned, I think that it is good for the country to begin to make this distinction and to start taking action against these people and put them in jail because they are against the country’s welfare.

What they want is to ensure that the international community sees the country as a place where violence prevails, a country where nothing positive can be done. It is too bad that there can be people who think this way. But I think that it was really great to make this observation yesterday. It was good to realize that there is a part of the Lavalas party that does not want peace.

[Francois] OK. But, could we say that what happened yesterday was a surprise to Minustah?

[Heleno] No, it was not surprising. We know that there are people who do not want peace. And yesterday’s events just ended up confirming this. Besides, it was a demonstration that the government considered illegal. I deployed the troops to execute the orders of Minustah Chief [Juan Gabriel] Valdes, who asked us to accompany the people.

Actually, I sent out the troops to assure the security of the people who were around and not participating in the demonstration, and who had nothing to do with the demonstration itself. But we were in fact expecting to see a peaceful and democratic demonstration.

But yesterday’s demonstration was considered illegal because the note sent by the organizers of the demonstration was completely deceptive. One thing that should be clear to everyone is that a political party that wants to hold a demonstration should meet all the legal requirements.

The PNH [Haitian National Police] is the legal force in the country. The Haitian government together with the police are the authorities that should approve and authorize demonstrations. So, these people will need to present correct documents in order to obtain authorization.

As a matter of fact, yesterday was the last time for us to protect an illegal demonstration. Next time, we will not provide protection anymore. On the contrary, we will prevent illegal demonstrations from taking place. Democracy is the rule of law. It is not the rule of outlaws.