Haiti beset by strikes and barricades
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- A general strike organised by the political
opposition has shut down Haiti's second-largest city on Thursday.
While slum dwellers in the capital have set up barricades to protest at
the lack of
In the north coast city of Cap-Haitien, home to more than 100,000 people,
one-day general strike closed banks, schools, businesses and public transportation.
No violence was reported during the strike, which the 15-party opposition
Convergence organised to protest at the policies of President Jean
"The country is dying. We're fed up with this government," said Rev. Milton
Convergence spokesman, speaking by telephone from Cap-Haitien, about 130
kilometres (81 miles) west of the capital.
The independent radio station Venus reported that about 80 percent of the
businesses in Cap-Haitien were closed.
Cap-Haitien is plagued with rubbish-filled streets and lack of running
Electricity is only available for a few hours on some days.
In the past week, there have also been small Convergence-led demonstrations
Petit-Goave and Gonaives, coastal towns west of the capital.
Convergence is one of two protest movements that have sprung up in Haiti's
The other is led by grass-roots activists of the governing Lavalas Family
have demanded the resignation of the premier, Jean-Marie Cherestal.
Both accuse the government of corruption and ineffectiveness.
The government's inability to provide basic services in the face of extreme
has also caused unrest in the slums of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
On Thursday morning, the road connecting the capital to suburban Carrefour
blocked by slum dwellers protesting the lack of electricity, water and telephone
Flaming tyre barricades were also set up on the road to the suburb of Delmas.
The government blames the economic difficulties on the international community
and the opposition.
Foreign donors have blocked about $ 500 million in aid to Haiti because
government's standoff with the opposition over flawed local and legislative elections
Aristide's Lavalas Family won 80 percent of the contests in what the opposition
says was rigged balloting.
Foreign donors have said they will not release the aid until results are
the opposition and the government have not be en able to reach an agreement on
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.