Tuesday, Apr 8, 2008, 8:06 pm
Food prices rise, hunger riot ensues in Haiti
Crowds of demonstrators in Haiti have tried to storm the presidential palace in the capital Port-au-Prince as protests continue over food prices. Witnesses say the protesters used metal bins to try to smash down the palace gates before UN troops fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them.
Several people are reported to have been injured in the clashes.
At least five people have been killed in Haiti since the unrest began last week in the southern city of Les Cayes.
The demonstrators outside the presidential palace said the rising cost of living in Haiti meant they were struggling to feed themselves.
"We are hungry," they shouted before attempting to smash open the palace gates.
In recent months, it has become common among Haiti's poor to use the expression grangou klowox, or "eating bleach", to describe the daily hunger pains people face, because of the burning feeling in their stomachs...
Rising food prices are causing unrest around the globe but in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, the protests threaten to destabilise an already fragile democracy.
Jarrett Dapier is a former assistant publisher at In These Times. Previous work for ITT includes interviews with playwright Christopher Shinn and Fugazi guitarist, Ian Mackaye. He currently works with teens at the Evanston Public Library where he runs a recycled drumming program and directs stage adaptations of young adult literature. He lives in Evanston, IL.