University of Ethnology Students Battle Police Over Student Killing

The government of Haiti (GOH) has low tolerance when it comes to democratic demonstrations. Last fall--for unknown reasons--the Haitian National Police (HNP) fired at and killed a student on the University of Haiti school grounds. Five other students were taken into custody and jailed before charges were dropped and they were freed.


Angered by the killing, Ethnology students assembled to demonstrate. When the HNP arrived, they set fire to a classroom, burning everything in it. They also fired at length on the demonstrators to scatter them.

The HNP, a corrupt law-enforcement agency, has been infiltrated by former military officers of the Haitian National Army (HNA), whose ultimate aim is a government take-over. The HNP is infamous for perpetrating human-rights abuses while the GOH looks the other way. The HNP operates as if it were still under the control of François Duvalier, terrorist president of the 1950s and 60s.

HNP's paranoia extends to any instance of democratic activity, however benign. Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's recent re-emergence into the public eye drew enthusiastic supporters and a battalion of HNP officers, who used night-sticks to beat back crowds that had come to see their leader. It would not be surprising to hear some blood was shed.

HNP's behavior suggests Haiti still has remnants of a military government in its midst. Although the HNA disbanded years ago, it continues to obstruct the development of democracy. Haiti is always at risk of a military takeover.

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Read more: Education, Police Brutality, Student, University of Ethnology, Education

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