UN to probe excessive force allegations in HaitiSaturday, December 13, 2014
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti will investigate allegations its troops used excessive force on a crowd during a violent protest.
UN peacekeepers on Friday opened fire on protesters who marched through Port-au-Prince to demand new leadership and long-delayed elections. Some protesters burned tires and clashed with UN troops and police, who also fired tear gas. Associated Press journalists did not observe any injuries or deaths.
The UN body known as MINUSTAH said in a statement late Friday that it is taking the allegations very seriously.
"(We) immediately opened an investigation to establish the facts," officials said
Hours after the protest, President Michel Martelly announced that he accepted the findings of a government-appointed commission created to break Haiti's political stalemate, including its recommendation that the prime minister resign. Martelly said in a national address that Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe was prepared to make a sacrifice and resign, although he did not say that Lamothe would step down. Lamothe was at the announcement but did not speak.
The commission's report also called for the release of several "political prisoners" and the resignations of the president of the Supreme Court and the current members of Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council.
Martelly said he would meet Monday with government officials.
He was supposed to call elections in 2011 but hasn't done so, with his administration blaming six opposition senators for rejecting legislation approved in 2013 that would authorize elections. The senators have said the measure is unconstitutional and unfairly favours the government.
Administration officials have insisted the government wants to hold the elections. The terms of 10 senators expire in mid-January and Parliament will be dissolved, meaning Martelly would rule by decree.