UN SOLDIERS BREAK UP PROTEST AGAINST MISSION'S YEARLY RENEWAL IN HAITI
(CP) - AP
PORT-AU-PRINCE — U.N. peacekeepers clashed Friday with a small group of Haitians protesting the yearly renewal of the 12,000-member military and police force.
About 60 protesters organized by labour, housing and other activist groups blocked the entrance to the main U.N. logistics base near Port-au-Prince's airport.
Most of the protesters came from the post-earthquake camps that still dominate the capital. They spray-painted anti-U.N. slogans on cars and burned the flag of Brazil, which provides the largest contingent to the mission.
U.N. security personnel then emerged from the base. A plainclothes guard struck a protester before a Jordanian soldier with the mission fired a warning shot. AP journalists also saw a Haitian policeman hit protesters with his rifle and a U.N. vehicle push through the crowd, knocking over protesters and journalists.
The protest was in response to a unanimous Security Council vote Thursday to renew the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH, which has been in place since the 2004 ouster of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
A statement from legal-aid group Bureau des Avocats Internationaux said money is wasted on the mission, which it called ineffective. It said protesters want "real assistance, not the renewal of ... an occupying military force."
The U.N. has budgeted $380 million for the mission this year.
Spokesman Vicenzo Pugliese said the mission had no comment on the protest.