Demonstration for democracy in Haiti
By Mike Rhodes
March 11, 2004
Fresnans held a demonstration today to demand democracy for Haiti. This was the second demonstration held in front of the Federal building here since the crisis erupted two weeks ago. Protest organizer Patrick Young was pleased with the size of the crowd of about 50 but asked "where is the media." Young had talked to The Fresno Bee about their lack of coverage of the last event and was told that they would not cover the demonstration unless organizers got 50 people. Looking around the crowd Young said "what do we have to do to get some attention around here?"
Even though the demonstration was totally ignored by the corporate media there were several alternative media organizations present to cover the story. George Ballis from Sun Mountain was there with his digital video camera and this reporter was there to cover the event for the Community Alliance magazine and Indymedia.
At one point a channel 24 (NBC TV) truck drove by the group as they waved signs and shouted encouragement for them to come back and do a report on this important story. But the corporate media blackout was to be complete and the TV truck rushed off to cover another story. At the conclusion of the demonstration several participants agreed to follow up and meet with the Fresno Bee editorial board to complain about the lack of coverage. Another group was meeting to discuss the use of Civil Disobedience as a tactic to bring attention to this horrible affront to democracy and misuse of tax dollars.
The protestors main demand was to bring Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected president, back to Haiti. Patrick Young and other Fresnans have talked to Tom Bohigian, Acting State Director for United States Senator Barbara Boxer about the situation in Haiti. Bohigian did not take the position that Aristide should be returned to Haiti and suggested that the president of Haiti might have brought these problems on himself by dissolving the army and allowing gangs of thugs to roam the capital. Bohigian complained that the elections that brought Aristide into power were flawed.
Patrick Young can be contacted at WheelchairBusProject@hotmail.com or (559) 244-1042.