PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Anti-U.N. riots spread to several Haitian cities and towns, as protesters blaming a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers for an outbreak of cholera that has killed more than 1,000 people exchanged gunfire with U.N. soldiers. Protesters continued to barricade some roads today.
The protests left at least two people dead. A demonstrator was shot dead by a U.N. peacekeeper during an exchange of gunfire in Quartier Morin, near Haitis second-largest city of Cap-Haitien, the United Nations mission said. It said it was investigating the shooting but asserted the soldier acted in self-defense.
Haiti Senate President Kelly Bastien told Radio Vision 2000 that a second demonstrator was shot and killed in Cap-Haitien itself. He did not know who shot him.
The 12,000-member force reported that at least six U.N. personnel were wounded in protests at Hinche in the central plateau, while local Radio Metropole reported that at least 12 Haitians were injured in Cap-Haitien.
The protests apparently began in Cap-Haitien early Monday and within hours had paralyzed much of the northern port city. An APTN television cameraman trying to reach the area was repelled by protesters throwing rocks and bottles from a barricade.
As the day went on, other protests broke out in surrounding towns and the central plateau. Local reporters said a police station was burned in Cap-Haitien and rocks thrown at peacekeeping bases. A small protest was also reported in the northwestern city of Gonaives, but U.N. police said it ended peacefully.
The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH, dismissed the protests as politically motivated, linking them to the fast-approaching Nov. 28 presidential elections.