Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Haiti hit with new protests over food costs (IHT)

PORT-AU-PRINCE: Demonstrators erected burning barricades in the streets of Haiti's southern city of Les Cayes on Monday to protest rising food prices in the impoverished Caribbean country.
Several hundred demonstrators joined the short-lived protest in the Les Cayes slum of La Savane, before they were dispersed by U.N. peacekeepers and Haiti police firing tear gas.
But the unrest was a reminder of the food riots in Les Cayes in April, when five people were killed in running street battles with police and U.N. troops over the high cost of living.
Those same clashes ignited demonstrations in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and elsewhere across the country that prompted the Senate to fire Prime Minister Edouard Alexis on April 12.
Alexis' lame-duck cabinet has continued to deal with current affairs while a new government is being formed but political infighting in parliament has dragged out the transition process.

"It's been over four months since the country is being led by a resigning government which lacks legitimacy to address the problems," Marc Antoine, a Les Cayes demonstrator, told Reuters on Monday.
"We launched a series of protests in April, because the price of rice and other food products were too high but prices have doubled since then," Antoine said. "And president (Rene) Preval and politicians in parliament are not doing anything to address the problems," he said.
"Political parties and lawmakers are fighting over who should control the next cabinet. But they don't seem to care for the population that is starving," added Malerbe Jean-Claude, another demonstrator.



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