Angry Protests In Haiti Over Slaying Of Countryman

By: Jonathan M. Katz, Associated Press Email
By: Jonathan M. Katz, Associated Press Email

PETIONVILLE, Haiti (AP) - Angry demonstrators hurled stones and tore down a sign at the Dominican Republic's embassy in Haiti on Friday to protest the decapitation of a Haitian in Santo Domingo.

About 150 protesters massed outside the walled compounds of the neighboring country's embassy and nearby consulate, but Haitian police prevented them from entering. U.N. peacekeepers with riot gear waited nearby but did not enter the fray.

Some protesters shoved pictures of the decapitated body of Carlos Nerilus, a migrant worker whose body was found Saturday, into the faces of Haitian police. "Justice for Carlos!" they shouted as they pushed at the human barricade.

They broke a window at the embassy and burned a makeshift Dominican flag. The embassy's sign was carried to the consulate, jumped on, defaced and thrown at the building as diplomats looked on from inside.

The protesters also chanted slogans against President Rene Preval, whom they criticized for his silence following the attack.

"Every time they kill four or five of us Haitians, we do nothing. That is why they keep killing us!" one protester shouted.

Dominican officials downplayed the protest, with the Foreign Ministry describing the slaying as an "incident between individuals" related to the previously unsolved murder of a Dominican businessman.

Police Maj. Jose Lluberes said Nerilus's slaying was meant to avenge the businessman's death, but no evidence has been presented that the Haitian migrant was involved.

Dominican Prosecutor Miguel Morfe said a man identified as Confesor Reyes has been charged in Nerilus' killing, with involuntary homicide and possession of an illegal weapon. A judge has ordered him to remain in prison for three months while authorities investigate.

Reyes' attorney, Isaias Matos, said his client is innocent and argued unsuccessfully against his detainment. It is unclear what kind of evidence police have against Reyes.

Haitian officials question whether Dominican police could have prevented Nerilus' killing.

The neighboring countries have a bitter history. Dominicans mark their independence from the 1844 end of a Haitian occupation, while Friday's protesters invoked the 1937 Dominican massacre of at least 10,000 Haitian migrants and dark-skinned Dominicans caught up in immigrant raids.

An estimated 1 million people of Haitian descent live in the Dominican Republic. Many suffer violence and discrimination, including the denial of citizenship to their Dominican-born children.
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Associated Press writer Ramon Almanzar contributed from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


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