4 April 2008 The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti said today that the situation remains tense in the south-western town of Les Cayes after yesterday’s demonstrations over the rising cost of living in the impoverished Caribbean nation led to an attack against the local UN office.
A small group of protesters broke into the UN compound, pillaged two containers and damaged the main entry gate after ignoring warning shots from peacekeepers, the mission – known as MINUSTAH – reported, adding that no UN employees were hurt. The protesters also burned shops in Les Cayes and threw rocks and fired weapons at some of the blue helmets during the night.
MINUSTAH has dispatched more than 100 extra peacekeepers to Les Cayes to reinforce the existing presence there, while the mission’s top police officers are also in the port town to oversee UN police operations and coordinate activities with the Haitian National Police (HNP).
The mission has condemned the violence in a statement and stressed it would continue to support the HNP as it tries to bring calm back to Les Cayes.
Meanwhile, the mission has announced that it has opened a library this week in a boys’ detention centre in Delmas, a district of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The library has been set up as part of a project to boost literacy among the inmates.
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