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From Haiti to New Orleans, Yes to Justice and Relief, Not Death and Occupation

by Sidney Ross-Risden Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005 at 7:13 PM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-292-7405

A protest against the US/UN occupation of Haiti and the massacre of Haitian people was held Sept. 30th outside the Brazilian Consulate in Beverly Hills. The LA event was part of an international day of outrage; actions took place in 40 cities in 15 countries.

From Haiti to New Or...
haiti_action-la_sept_30-05-20.jpg, image/jpeg, 1800x1215

A forceful and colorful protest against the US/UN occupation of Haiti and the massacre of Haitian people was held Friday, September 30th at noon outside the Brazilian Consulate in Beverly Hills. Protestors - Black, Latino/a and white - represented a range of organizations including Lavalas, which means ‘flash flood’ and is the grassroots movement that elected Jean Bertrand Aristide President of Haiti not once but twice. We lined Wilshire Blvd. carrying signs and banners reading US Hands Off Haiti; Free Haiti Now; Women Say ‘Brazil Stop Leading UN Troops Against the People of Haiti’; No US/UN Rape of Haiti; Aristide is the Elected Leader of Haiti; From Haiti to Iraq to New Orleans, Yes to Justice and Relief, No to War and Occupation and more. Many people honked and waved in support.

Haiti is now occupied by US-supported UN troops following a US-led coup. Since the coup of February 29, 2004, when Haiti’s elected President Aristide was kidnapped by US Marines, there are estimates of more than 13,000 dead and thousands more jailed or tortured. Lavalas and its supporters are being targeted. UN forces supported by the US and led by Brazil have not acted to stop, and have even taken part in, the violence against low-income communities which have been the backbone of support for President Aristide and of the movement pressing for his return. On September 28th, heavily armed motorized units of MINUSTAH, the United Nations military force in Haiti, entered the grassroots neighborhoods of Cite Soleil and Bel Air in Haiti’s capital to intimidate the people from demonstrating on Sept. 30; 40 people were arrested and 3 killed.

The protest in LA was part of an international day of outrage demanding an end to the war against the people of Haiti. Fondasyon Trant Septanm, a Haitian organization supporting victims of the repression in Haiti, issued the original call for protests in many cities of the world on September 30th. Actions took place in 40 cities in 15 countries, including three countries in Africa, three in Europe, seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Canada and in the US including San Francisco where a civil disobedience closed all entrances to the Federal Building and at least 18 people were arrested. Demands of this international day of action included:

Ø Stop the Serial Killings and Massacre of the Poor, in one neighborhood after another, by UN troops, Haitian National Police and paramilitary mercenaries under police control.

Ø Restore the Democratically Elected Government of President Aristide

Ø Free Fr. Jean-Juste, So’ Anne, Prime Minister Neptune – and ALL the Political Prisoners

Ø End the Brutal US/UN Occupation – Restore Haiti’s Sovereignty – Respect the Will of the Haitian People

Ø Launch an independent inquiry into the February 29, 2004 coup and forced removal of President Aristide – including the role of the US, France and Canada.

Noluthando Williams of the Committee in Solidarity with Haiti spoke vividly about the violence that the Haitian resistance and the poorest neighborhoods are experiencing under the occupation, especially in the lead-up to illegal elections. Lynda Brewer of Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike made connections with the crisis in the Gulf states, pointing out that in both Haiti and New Orleans, racism and poverty are at the heart of occupation and slaughter. Representing the International Action Center, John Parker highlighted the brutality of US prioritizing spending on war and occupation rather than meeting the needs of people in Haiti or anywhere. Other speakers brought out the work of mothers and grandmothers under occupation, and made connections between the murder and economic violence imposed on the people of Haiti and on other grassroots people from Iraq to the South Central Farmers in downtown LA. A Beverly Hills cop, citing an ordinance against using amplified sound, threatened to confiscate the bullhorn speakers were using, but the speak-out continued until all who had something to say were heard.

Because of Brazil’s role leading the UN occupation, protestors requested to meet with officials from the Brazilian consulate. Counselor Henrique Jenne came down and heard demands from the group, led by and Parker and Williams. Mr. Jenne said he opposed injustice anywhere and requested more documentation be sent to him. When pressed because documentation that had been presented last February didn’t result in any response or action by Brazil, he agreed to respond in one week of its receipt. The Brazilian counselor was accompanied by 2 representatives of the US State Department. Asked their view on the central role of the US in kidnapping Aristide and supporting the UN occupation, they said they were not political, they were there to provide security.

The protest in Los Angeles was called by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Haiti which includes the ANSWER Coalition, the Committee in Solidarity with Haiti, the Global Women’s Strike/LA, and the International Action Center. It was endorsed by Alexandria House, actor/director Ben Guillory, and CISPES. International sponsors included: Fondasyon Trant Septanm, Fanmi Lavalas, Fondasyon Mapou, Global Women's Strike, Haiti Action Committee, Haiti Solidarity Committee (So. Fla), Haitian Initiative for Democracy, Haitian Lawyers Leadership, Institute for Democracy & Justice in Haiti, Latin American Solidarity Center (Dublin, Ireland), Veye Yo.

For more information on the situation in Haiti, check out www.haitiaction.net. To reach the LA-based Ad Hock Working Group on Haiti, call 323-292-7405.

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Protestors question the Brazilian Counsel

by Sidney Ross-Risden Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005 at 7:13 PM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-292-7405

Protestors question ...
haiti_action-la_sept_30-05-09.jpg, image/jpeg, 1800x1215

The action in LA was called by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Haiti which includes the ANSWER Coalition, Committee in Solidarity with Haiti, Global Women's Strike, and the International Action Center

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Lynda Brewer, Women of VColor in the Global Women's Strike

by Sidney Ross-Risden Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005 at 7:13 PM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-292-7405

Lynda Brewer, Women ...
haiti_action-la_sept_30-05-15.jpg, image/jpeg, 1800x1215

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Protestors line Wilshire Blvd. outside Brazilian Consulate

by Sidney Ross-Risden Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005 at 7:13 PM
la@crossroadswomen.net 323-292-7405

Protestors line Wils...
haiti_action-la_sept_30-05-03.jpg, image/jpeg, 1800x1215

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A transcript of the conversation between Jenne and the activists... Ross Plesset Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005 at 9:52 PM

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