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Posted November 15, 2010
 
Haiti protest turns extremely violent as death toll is in the vicinity of 1000
 
By John Swaine in New York
 
Two police stations were reportedly set on fire in Cap-Haitien, the country's second city, on its north coast, after demonstrators clashed with authorities at a local UN peacekeeping base.
 
cholera victim 1
A sick Haitian waits at a medical facility in St Marc hospital in October 2010. The death toll from an outbreak of cholera has leaped to 544, with more than 8,000 people being treated in hospital.(AFP/File/Thony Belizaire)
 
Local radio reports said that UN and Haitian forces fired tear gas and projectiles at a crowd of at least 1,000 protesters.

Meanwhile UN troops in Hinche, around the centre of the country, were also reported to have been pelted with rocks by 400 demonstrators.

It is thought about a dozen people were injured in Cap-Haitien, some with gunshot wounds. Cars were torched and other property destroyed.

Yves Jasmin, the regional health chief, said: "The situation is very difficult, and there is a lot of violence in the city.

Tens of thousands of people have been made ill as the the water-borne disease has spread across the almost all of Haiti's major towns, including the capital, Port-au-Prince.

It is estimated that more than a million people are living in tents around the capital after being displaced by a huge earthquake in January, which killed more than 200,000 people.

Doctors Without Borders has warned worse may be yet to come. Stefano Zannini, the organisation's head of mission in Haiti, said at the weekend the number of cases had risen sevenfold in days.

Peacekeepers from Nepal are blamed by many Haitians for bringing the disease into the country, despite no official link being made by medics and international authorities.

Rumours over the origin of the disease have centred on a separate UN Nepalese base near the Artibonite River, where the cholera outbreak started.

Peacekeeping troops arrived there a week before the Haitiain outbreak began last month. While Nepal has recently been blighted by cholera, the epidemic in Haiti is thought to be unprecedented.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a US government agency, has said the strain spreading through Haiti matches one specific to South Asia.

Haiti's first post-earthquake presidential election is due to be held in under two weeks' time.

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