Violence erupts after presidential elections in Haiti

December 9th, 2010 - 3:15 am ICT by BNO News  

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (BNO NEWS) — Violence erupted in Haiti on Tuesday night following the announcement of preliminary presidential election results and the elimination of candidates, especially of Michel Martelly, HaitiLibre reported on Wednesday.

Supporters of Martelly, who is also a popular singer, set fires and erected barricades in the streets of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, in protest of the elimination. Throughout Tuesday night, protesters with their faces covered ran through the blocked streets, demanding the annulment of the elections.

Martinelly was excluded from the second round of elections after receiving 234,617 votes, 21.84 percent, while the government candidate, Jude Célestin, got 241,462 votes (22.48 percent) amidst fraud allegations. Alongside Célestin, the other candidate still taking part in the run-off is Mirlande Manigat of the RDNP party who received 31.37 percent of the voting.

Rioters threw stones at various buildings and vehicles, disrupting traffic. Some cars were even set on fire as protesters accused the government of illegally supporting its candidate and threatened to blockade the Caribbean island nation.

In Petion Ville, demonstrators clashed with Haiti’s National Police (PNH) after gunshots were heard in the suburb of the capital. PHN used tear gas to disperse the mob as tires were burning on the streets. Shops were also vandalized.

On Wednesday, angry protesters intended to approach the presidential palace but anti-riot police prevented that. Haitian President Rene Preval called for calm after reports surfaced indicating that a person was shot dead while two others were wounded.

In addition, the INITE ruling party’s headquarters was burned on Wednesday morning by hooded demonstrators. Firefighters were sent to the scene to control the flames. Vandalism and public demonstrations have since spread to other cities in the island nation.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, through his spokesman Martin Nesirky, that he is concerned with the current situation in Haiti after fraud allegations marred the presidential elections.

The Secretary-General urged all candidates to exhaust the formal remedies and legal procedures, which will allow a clearer picture to emerge. Furthermore, Ban urged parties to encourage its supporters to remain calm and to stop violence.

“A peaceful solution to the current situation is crucial not only to confront the cholera epidemic in the short-term but also to create the conditions in the medium term for recovery and development from the earthquake,” Nesirky said.

The run-off election is scheduled to be held on January 16.

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