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About 100 protest planned eviction in Haiti

Friday, July 13, 2012    

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — About 100 people marched in Haiti's capital yesterday to protest a government plan that threatens to demolish their homes.

The protesters said they won't let authorities destroy their houses even though they sit on the edge of a ravine looming over Port-au-Prince and sometimes crash down the hillside during heavy rains and leave people dead.

"I built my own house, and I'm not going to let anyone come and destroy it," said Jony Juichelle, a 26-year-old protester. "If the government thinks that it's going to destroy my house, they will have to kill me first."

The demonstration was the second in as many weeks since Haitian officials announced the plan to demolish up to 450 homes in the shantytown to make way for a flood-protection project in the ravine.

More than 1,000 people participated in the first protest against the plan, which officials say would provide new land northeast of the capital for homes but for only about 200 people now living in the targeted shantytown.

The steep ravine snakes through one of Haiti's biggest shantytowns and ends in front of an elite private school attended by the children of foreign diplomats and Haitian professionals. Seasonal rains cause the ravine to flood and sweep debris to the school entrance.

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