23/02/2010

'Troops Out' Protest Over Haiti

Activists from a Haiti interest group have announced a protest calling for the removal of American and international troops from the quake-ravaged country.

Haiti Solidarity Ireland has called for a picket of the American embassy in Dublin this Thursday against "the interventions of imperial powers and the brutal repression of a colluding political and business elite".

Despite the soldiers being engaged in on-going humanitarian relief, a spokesperson for the group José A. Gutiérrez D, who is also coordinating the Dublin protest, said Haiti Solidarity Ireland supported the right of ordinary Haitians to control the reconstruction of their country.

The picket, which will run from 6-7pm on Thursday is part of an international week of action which will see protests in cities around the world.

It has been called by a coalition of Haitian grassroots organisations and trade unions, including Haitian political party Fanmi Lavalas.

Haiti Solidarity Ireland are calling for aid and reconstruction efforts to be controlled by Haitians themselves through their unions and community organisations.

"An alternative reconstruction of Haiti, empowering ordinary people, is the only long-term solution to Haiti's poverty," said Mr Gutiérrez D.

He added. "The world must support the right of Haitians to determine their own lives."

Today it was revealed that the death toll from last month's devastating earthquake in Haiti could jump to 300,000 people, including the bodies buried under collapsed buildings in the capital.

Haitian President Rene Preval said: "You have seen the images you are familiar with the pictures. More than 200,000 bodies were collected on the streets without counting those that are still under the rubble.

"We might reach 300,000 people."

The cost of rebuilding the impoverished country after the 7.0-magnitude quake could be as high as $14 billion, according to the Inter-American Development Bank. Meanwhile, 250,000 houses have been destroyed and 1.5 million people are living in tent camps made with bed sheets and plastic scraps in nearly every open space in the collapsed capital of Port-au-Prince.

President Preval said the most urgent need is for emergency shelter.

Also today, reports have emerged of a 4.7 magnitude aftershock quake hitting Haiti early this morning, 20 miles west southwest of Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The quake struck at 1:26am (6.30am GMT) at a depth of 6.2 miles, the USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

See: www.fanmilavalasny.com/

(DW/BMcc)

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