Largest Demonstration to Date Demands President Martelly’s Resignation

by Thomas
Péralte (Haiti Liberte)
On Tue., Nov.
25, tens of thousands poured through the streets of Port-Au-Prince to demand
the departure of President Michel Martelly. Observers and journalists reported
that it was the largest anti-Martelly march yet during October and November,
which have seen many outpourings around the country but particularly in the
            As usual, the marchers began in
front of the churches St. Jean Bosco in La Saline and Our Lady of Perpetual
Help in Belair and converged at Rue Saint-Martin. After marching up the Delmas
Road, they took Delmas 32 to Bourdon, and then marched on the National Palace.
A week earlier, on Nov. 18, police fired on a similar large march at Delmas
32, killing at least two and dispersing the demonstration.
            Among the many chants of the
demonstrators, most noteworthy was “No negotiations with Martelly!” and
“Martelly must leave for Haiti to be free!” The marchers also called the
Haitian president a corrupt dictator, liar, murderer, drug-dealer, and
            The nationwide mobilization has been
dubbed “Operation Burkina Faso,” echoing the mass mobilization that
successfully drove long-time president Blaise Compaoré from power in that
country last month. Martelly plans to begin ruling by decree on Jan. 12, 2015
when Parliament expires because he has held no elections during his three and a
half years in power.
            “Martelly, here are the
roaches!” roared the crowd, referring to a remark made by Communications
Minister Rudy Hériveaux, a former Lavalas ally, about anti-government
demonstrators some weeks ago.
            Since Martelly has come to power, he
has organized three carnivals a year and zero elections. He has corrupted state
institutions, particularly the judiciary and Parliament. He replaced elected
mayors with his own hand-picked representatives. Corruption is unprecedented.
Unemployment, inflation and insecurity are all surging around the country.
            In front of the Palace on the Champs
de Mars, the demonstrators made it all the way to the 2004 Tower, where the
police formed an impenetrable wall. Nonetheless, the demo did not finish with
tear-gas, gunshots, or any other major incident like others in past weeks.
            The police restraint was likely due
to the Nov. 24 remarks of Sandra Honore, the head of the UN Stabilization
Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), who is trying to play the role of “good cop.”
            In an effort to brake the
population’s growing radicalization faced with outrageous illegal arrests and
police violence, she said: “The freedom to demonstrate and freedom of
expression are rights guaranteed by international conventions, enshrined in the
Haitian constitution and supported by the law.”
            “The right to demonstrate and
freedom of opinion is a sign of the consolidation of democracy in Haiti, and
efforts must be made by both sides to avoid any recourse to violence,
defamation, intimidation of all kinds, or acts that may contribute to peace and
stability,” she continued. “As part of strengthening the rule of law, it is up
to Haitian authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure that the right
to peaceful protest is respected and that offenders are prosecuted… The
period from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10 marks 16 days of activism for the protection of
human rights, it is up to all to reject violence in all its forms to move
towards a stronger Haiti, more stable and more respectful the rights of all.”
            “Operation Burkina Faso” will
continue with mass demonstrations on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, with the U.S. Embassy
in Port-au-Prince, a Martelly regime backer, as one of the demonstrators’

            The leaders of several opposition
political parties and organizations marched in the Nov. 25 protest, including
Dr. Maryse Narcisse, Dr. Louis Gerald Gilles, and Dr. Schiller Louidor of the
Lavalas Family, Turneb Delpé and Serge Jean Louis of the MOPOD political
platform, activists from KOD, MOLEGHAF, Embark to Change, MONOP, and Grenadier
07, among others. Students, schoolchildren, teachers, and union members also
took part in the march.