Danse Petro: Three days left – Echoes from Resistance

After two days of a general strike which paralyzed activities in Haiti, persons in Haiti have not stopped demanding that President Jovenel Moise respect the constitution by recognizing the end of his mandate as president of the country. For two days, the whole country shut down, streets were deserted and demonstrations were held in Port-au-Prince and in most major towns. In Champs de Mars, militants battled the police for hours, tossing stones, barricading the streets with burning tires and rocks, while fighting numerous police officers who tossed tear gas canisters and fired their guns in the air, and at demonstrators a few times. In provincial towns people mobilized to demand that the rookie dictator leave.

In Les Cayes early in the day there was a lot of gunfire by armed civilians working for the government Prosecutor to intimidate the population and prevent gatherings. But militants were undeterred and a huge crowd gathered to begin demonstrating by calling on the ancestors with veves, symbolic drawings from the Vodun religion.

In Arcahaie, militants set barricades early in the day. A bridge at the entrance of the town was blocked by a barricade, preventing cars and motorcycles from crossing. Even people walking on foot had to stop and searched for weapons by militants before being allowed to proceed. A doctor had to negotiate before being allowed to proceed to his destination.

On Champs de Mars, by 1 PM rocks were thrown by militants near the School of Ethnic Studies causing the breaking of windows in passing cars. Later in the day, when police officers from the UDMO tried to clear the square, a battle started with militants tossing rocks, bottles, bricks and setting small fires.

In Petion-Ville some people could be seen traveling about with a few street merchants and a few tap tap ferrying passengers, but businesses and banks stayed closed.

1:40 PM Arcahaie. Person living there were calling radio stations, looking for help, as a reporter talked about a group of civilians with guns coming from the hills, shooting at members of the population for awhile before retreating.

On Rue Magny near UDMO quarters a battle raged between police and demonstrators. Tear Gas was tossed all over Champs de Mars, and militants riposted with rocks near the school of Ethnic Studies. The intersection of Rue Magny and Rue Capois barricaded with flaming tires. Militants fought with rocks to stop cops from removing the barricade. Officers from UDMO continued firing tear gas all over. There is a report that rocks were thrown at the President’s motorcade before. Even police officers ran away from heavy tear gas.

1:52 PM – Militants call for reinforcement on Radio calling for Lavalas and Pitit Desalin from Belair and Portail to join the fight. Lots of rocks and tear gas. Everybody running away from Champs de Mars, militants and onlookers fled to Kafou Tifou near Champs de Mars, setting burning tires in the street.

2:00 PM. – A large group of police officers take control of Champs de Mars tossing tear gas all over the square, even journalists are victims falling down near fainting. Militants come back tossing rocks burning more tires on Rue Magny and Kafou Tifou. “We are not backing down. We made the president run inside the palace. Today there is no choice we’re here to fight .” Rocks are being thrown at all cars passing by. Cops shooting in the air and at targets unseen tossing tear gas.

3:05 PM. Militants regroup near police and fire station at edge of Champs de Mars. They are there to demand release of comrades arrested. Many police are there too. A stand off is looming between them. Soon, rocks and bottles are thrown at police officers inside the police station. In reply, officers start shooting in the air forcing everyone to vacate. Militants go near the University to regroup.

Arcahaie 3:00 PM – reports of police shooting and wounding persons as they clear barricades erected earlier. Young militants battle with rocks, but have to run away from direct gun fire. Police officers arrive in force with a back loader to clear the road, firing directly at people there.

4:50 PM on Champs de Mars. After a brief retreat, many police officers clear the square of all militants using tear gas, firing in the air and chasing militants on foot. Four are arrested and taken away.

5:00 PM – At Kafou Drouillard in the north entrance of PAP, boys are seen playing soccer in the intersection. Usually at this time cars, tap taps and people are jammed in this busy intersection. For now it is a soccer field. The Airport road is empty and at the Airport Road intersection with Delmas more soccer players with no public transportation save for a couple of taxis trying to salvage a last buck.

In Arcahaie there are reports of police officers setting a local business on fire after shooting on the house for awhile. On the floor journalists can see many shells from bullets fired at the house. It seems that the business belongs to an opponent of President Moise.

5:15 PM. On Champs de Mars, militants facing off with the police who are picking up rocks and debris. No violence anymore militants chanting, police officers ostensibly ignore them, clearing the road with their hands. Militants sit on the rocks chanting insults at police forcing the cops to stop clearing the debris. “He must go, Jovenel must go”, they sing . Police go away peacefully leaving the grounds to militants who proclaim victory. This will be remembered for a long time as the battle for Champs de Mars.

More violence happens in Arcahaie as police and armed civilians fire at people who retreat with a few wounded. Police destroy a motorcycle belonging to Radio Zenith and shoot near a Tank with Propane setting a fire. Persons are seen running about in panic.

6:00 PM. Champs de Mars is peaceful again. People walking about. Militants are back in their usual hangout. Many police officers are near the DDO and militants on Constitution Square start lobbing rocks until police move in on them. Small skirmish compared to earlier.

Around 7 PM there is a press conference thanking population for a successful strike, observed all through the country, by attorneys condemning police officers for brutality, attempted murder and violence against. Attorney Arnel Remy says “the fight continues…..Feb 7 is coming, and Jovenel Moise has no choice because no one is above the constitution….”

The Day After

In the Northeast region, former Senator Jean Baptiste Bien Aime holds a press conference to let the population know about activities in the department. He tells of three demonstrations in the department. In Terrier Rouge the gathering is violently suppressed by armed supporters of the president’s Representative, called delegate. They shoot at the demonstration, wounding some persons. In Caracol, a large crowd is in the streets demanding the president’s departure. In Ouanaminthe a large crowd is demonstrating in the street with many persons chanting. At the start, rocks and bottles are thrown at the demonstration as it passes in front of the house of the delegate. This does not deter the militants who shout their anger at the president.

In Terrier Rouge. Right in front of police assigned to the UDMO, security guards working for Delegate Donald JnFrancois fired at the crowd wounding near ten people who are brought to the local hospital. Police watched the crime passively, looking like accomplices.

St Marc 1:15 PM. Police cars with officers wearing hoods are looking menacing. Uniforms not looking like normal. Police officers with no badges are seen attacking people and journalist. Militants accusing them resolve to stay out until Joveled leaves. By 3 PM demonstration full swing in St Marc with police protection. Many people (Thousands) peaceful demonstrate until police break it up by using lotsa tear gas forcing people to run away in all directions. Half hour later militants regroup to begin again. “Bandit must leave and we gonna stay in the street..”, they chant, as they regroup.

In Port-au-Prince, a group called Esklav Revolte is calling for demonstration tomorrow in Kafou Rezistans to begin early, calling for respect of the constitution. Talking about shameful actions by police supporting a dictator. They say that fake police in the ranks are committing violence. They ask for unity within opposition.

Three days left. Everywhere persons are calling for Jovenel to pack up and leave the palace. THREE DAYS LEFT.


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