One Killed Amid Senate Voting In Haiti

One person was killed Sunday when supporters of rival candidates clashed as Haitians went to the polls in a Senate election, Haiti national police said.

The victim, a woman, was killed in the southwestern city of Jeremie when violence erupted between the two groups of supporters, a PNH official there said.

Sporadic violence marred the first hours of voting Sunday, which has seen very few people turning out to the polls to elect one-third of the Senate’s 30 seats in this impoverished Caribbean nation.

Security was tight at polling stations, where police were joined by blue- helmeted members of MINUSTAH, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

In the capital Port-au-Prince, President Rene Preval voted early Sunday in a nearly deserted polling station and encouraged citizens to vote.

Not far from the presidential palace, protesting medical school students who have been demanding for weeks a rise in the minimum wage were met by police who threw tear gas and blocked the road.

Otherwise, the situation remained relatively calm in Port-au-Prince, where police and UN security forces kept up street patrols, according to an AFP correspondent.

Haiti has been roiled by chronic poverty and rising violence. Tensions have also mounted over the presence of 9,000 UN peacekeepers in the country since 2004, when tension boiled over with an armed uprising that forced president Jean Bertrand Aristide to flee the country.


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