Haiti protest signals political tension for future
Several thousand supporters of two-time President Jean-Bertrand Aristide filled the streets of Haiti’s capital Wednesday on the eighth anniversary of his ouster, accusing the country’s current leader of not doing enough to improve their lives.
It was the largest demonstration against President Michel Martelly since he took office in May, and pointed to mounting political strife between the president and his critics as the country struggles to rebuild from the 2010 earthquake.
The size of the crowd also hinted at the level of support for Aristide, a former slum priest turned politician who still wields influence since returning to Haiti last year after seven years of exile in South Africa.
“Martelly said he would bring change; instead he’s bringing division,” protester Rene Augustin said with Haiti’s red-and-blue flag wrapped around his head.
The demonstrators also called for the departure of Haiti’s U.N. peacekeeping mission.
The protest came at a time when the mood in the country feels precarious and abounds with tension.