Protest over evictions in Haiti blocks traffic

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Protesters pitched tents and laid down in the middle of one of the busiest streets in the Haitian capital Monday to protest efforts to remove them from a private lot where they have been living since the January 2010 earthquake.
The approximately 60 to 80 protesters began the peaceful protest in the Delmas section of Port-au-Prince about 6 a.m. local time (7 a.m. EDT; 1100 GMT) after more than a dozen police officers showed up, apparently to evict them from a lot where several hundred people have been living in tents and small shacks.

About a dozen armed police officers looked on and motorists were forced to take alternate routes during the protest, which lasted several hours.

Employees from the mayor’s office in Delmas came to the car mechanic lot-turned-quake-survivor camp last week and offered each family $125 to leave, camp leader Jean-Rony Alexis said. But the amount wasn’t enough to help them secure housing, he said.

“The mayor’s office needs to sit down with us and offer us more money or a place to go,” Alexis, 26, said as protesters behind him carried cardboard signs asking for justice for tent dwellers.

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