Haitians barricade city, stone UN base

PORT-AU-PRINCE – Protesters who hold United Nations soldiers from Nepal responsible for a deadly outbreak of cholera that has killed nearly 1000 people barricaded Haiti’s second-largest city yesterday, burning cars and stoning a UN peacekeeping base.

The protesters also blame the Nepali unit there for the death of a Haitian youth at the base in August.

Demonstrations began in Cap-Haitien about 6am local time and within hours paralysed much of the northern port city, national television reporter Johnny Joseph said.

An AP television cameraman trying to reach the area was repelled by protesters throwing rocks and bottles from a barricade.

Protesters have also targeted other UN bases and Haitian national police stations in the city.

Haitian radio reported a police substation was burned.

UN soldiers and Haitian police fired teargas and projectiles to disperse at least 1000 protesters at the Nepali base, Haitian radio reported. Joseph said a Haitian was killed in the melee.

At least 12 Haitians have been injured, Radio Metropole reported. There have been no reports of injuries to UN personnel or other foreigners.

“We remain very concerned about the volatile situation in Cap-Haitien,” UN mission spokesman Vincenzo Pugliese said.

He blamed political activists for stoking the unrest.

“It looks like the demonstration began in three or four parts in the city in a simultaneous way that means it was planned ahead,” Pugliese said.

Radio Kiskeya reported an anti-UN protest in the central town of Hinche.

The station reported six Nepali peacekeepers were injured by rocks, but the United Nations mission said it had no reports of injuries to its personnel.

A small protest was also reported in the northwestern city of Gonaives, about halfway between Cap-Haitien and Port-au-Prince. UN police said it ended peacefully.

The cholera backlash is rooted both in fear of a disease previously unknown to Haiti and internationally shared suspicion that the UN base could have been a source of the infection.

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