Haitian protesters called for the withdrawal of United Nations troops from Haiti on Wednesday, clashing with police and security forces.
The protesters demanded UN troops, there since 2004, leave and hurled rocks at Haitian police in riot gear. In response, the officers fired tear gas canisters to dispersed the crowd of several hundred people.
The UN has 12,000 military and police personnel stationed in Haiti, which have come under increasing criticism from Haitians after several incidents of abuse. The alleged sexual assault of an 18 year old Haitian man by UN peacekeepers in July has added to the Haitian peoples’ grievances.
A cholera outbreak that was likely introduced by a UN battalion from Nepal and has killed more than 6,200 people since last October was also among the complaints.
The UN forces have been in Haiti since violence broke out in 2004 and former President Jean Bertrand Aristide was ousted from power. Reports of US involvement in his ouster have only added to Haitian distrust of foreign presence, which has been part of its history for hundreds of years.