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Crowds seeking aid in Haiti met with pepper spray and rubber bullets

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Will Pavia
London Times
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

United Nations troops used pepper spray yesterday to hold off a crowd of hungry Haitians queueing for food at a makeshift camp in the grounds of the wrecked presidential palace.

“They’re not violent, just desperate. They just want to eat,” Fernando Soares, a Brazilian army colonel, said. “The problem is, there is not enough food for everyone.”

The UN’s Brazilian troops are experienced — they have been stationed in Haiti for years — but they were struggling to hold the line. As they began deploying the pepper spray, the crowd broke up and ran back across the road coughing, eyes streaming.

Raoul Gai, 36, pulled his T-shirt over the head of Dalima, 9, his daughter, as she cried and spluttered. “They are giving food but I don’t like the way they are doing it,” he said.

Yesterday, the 14th day after the Haitian earthquake, the World Food Programme (WFP) was trying to deliver 107 cubic tonnes of rice and oil and beans to the starving of Port-au-Prince, enough to feed 20,000 people for 15 days. Two rice trucks were heading for the palace.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 10:28 am





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