CaribWorldNews, PETIONVILLE, Haiti, Thurs. Dec. 9, 2010: Both Haitian President, René Préval along with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon yesterday appealed for calm as violent protests continued in the capital of Haiti following the announcement of preliminary election results.
`We are asking everyone, please stop burning tires on the roads, stop destroying government buildings, stop attacking people`s businesses… We are asking everyone to obey the law,` Préval said in a live radio address to the nation yesterday.
This as a statement issued by Ban Ki-Moon`s spokesman called for `a peaceful solution to the current situation,` insisting that it `is crucial not only to confront the cholera epidemic in the short-term but also to create the conditions in the medium term for recovery and development from the earthquake.`
Their call for calm came as thousands of protesters rampaged through the streets of Port-au-Prince, setting fire to the headquarters of the ruling UNITY government after they accused them of rigging the results. Tuesday`s announcement by the Provisional Electoral Council revealed that former first lady Mirlande Manigat and outgoing UNITY party candidate, Jude Celestin, qualified for the January presidential run-off by coming in first and second.
But protestors and supporters of singer, Michel “Sweet Micky“ Martelly, are unhappy with news that their candidate finished third and won`t be in the run-off.
Police yesterday were forced to use tear gas in Petionville after angry Martelly supporters blocked the only road leading to Préval`s private residence in the hills of Laboule, a Port-au-Prince suburb.
Martelly had said that he would not accept a spot in a run-off in which Celestin is present. His campaign called a late Tuesday night press conference but later canceled it for security reasons.
Masked protesters also threw rubble at Brazilian U.N. troops in front of the earthquake-battered office of the Provisional Electoral Council in Delmas. American Airlines cancelled flights to Haiti yesterday and for today, Dec. 9th.
Both Preval and Ban urged those making claims of fraud to exhaust the formal and legal complaint procedures. The U.S. Embassy in Haiti issued a statement voicing concern by the Provisional Electoral Council`s announcement of preliminary results. They said the results `are inconsistent with the published results of the National Election Observation Council` as well as U.S. observers and vote counts monitored by domestic and international observers.
Manigat, a 70-year-old law professor, is the wife of former Haitian President Leslie Manigat, who served briefly in the late 1980s after a much-criticized election before being deposed by a coup. Celestin is the head of the state-run construction company whose trucks carted bodies and limited amounts of rubble out of the city after the Jan. 12 quake. His campaign was heavily funded and included the dropping of t-shirts from helicopters and the give way of money to many, in what some perceived as an exchange for votes.
The protests come as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that cholera outbreak in the country has now spread to every section of Haiti.
Cholera is caused by a bacteria, Vibrio cholerae, which causes an infection of the intestine and produces a toxin that triggers watery diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and death.