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Ex-president's supporters protest Haiti poll results

Former President Rene Preval fell further below the 50 per cent needed to win the presidency in Haiti.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 11:16 IST
United News of India
United News of India

Protesters paralysed the capital with burning barricades on Monday and stormed a luxury hotel to demand results from Haiti's nearly week-old election as ex-President Rene Preval fell further below the 50 per cent needed to win the presidency.

Witnesses said UN peacekeepers fired into a crowd of protesters in Tabarre, just north of Port-au-Prince, killing at least two people, but a UN spokesman said the troops only shot into the air.

"No vote will be stolen," interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue told Haitians in a television address following a day of unrest. "We ask everyone to go back home, to stay calm and the results will be published."

Like Aristide, Preval is viewed as a champion of the Caribbean country's poor masses, most of whom live on 1 dollar a day, but he is distrusted by the small and wealthy elite that helped push Aristide from office on February 29, 2004.

In Tabarre, Jordanian troops started shooting after protesters refused to let them pass a barricade, according to eyewitnesses. "They got angry. They opened fire at the crowd and two people were killed," said Carl Gregoire.

UN spokesman David Wimhurst said peacekeepers fired two warning rounds into the air.

"They did not injure anybody. Later, shots were fired by unidentified individuals in the same area," he said. "I can assure you no individuals were wounded by UN peacekeepers.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 11:16 IST