PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, JUNE 30 -- Witnesses said soldiers fatally shot six people -- including a 12-year-old boy -- as a strike protesting a government election decree continued for a second day today.
The strike was intended to last only 24 hours, but 57 groups backed extension to another day. It was called to protest last week's decree taking control of elections away from the independent Provisional Electoral Council. The council was established by the constitution that was approved in a March 29 referendum.
Residents and radio stations said soldiers killed a 17-year-old youth and a 12-year-old boy in Port-au-Prince's biggest slum, Cite Soleil, and that 11 people were wounded. Later reports said soldiers killed another person there.
Radio Metropole reported another person killed by troops at a barricade in Delmas, a neighborhood on the capital's north side.
Witnesses said a man was shot to death by soldiers in the Carrefous section of the capital, and that another body was seen at the airport.
One demonstrator was killed by soldiers in Cap Haitien yesterday. The strike-related death toll now stands at seven.
Troops fired into a crowd of about 3,000 demonstrators in Cap Haitien today, wounding several, Radio Metropole said.
Smoke from protesters' burning barricades blackened the air in the capital and other cities, and soldiers tried to pull down the obstructions.
Two girls, 4 and 6, were among at least 20 people reported wounded by gunfire in Port-au-Prince.
Youths manned barricades of burning garbage and tires at most major intersections in Port-au-Prince.
Truckloads of soldiers armed with machine guns and automatic rifles patrolled the city and tried to dismantle the obstructions.
Radio Metropole said the strike was effective throughout this nation of 6 million people.
Barricades were reported burning on streets and highways in other cities, including Cap Haitien, Leogane, Les Cayes, Port-de-Paix, Jeremie and Jacmel.
"Jacmel is in flames since this morning," Radio Metropole reported. It said protesters were in the streets and blocking roads with burning garbage.
In Port-au-Prince, about 20 soldiers in antiriot gear clashed with dozens of youths who blocked the main road to the wealthy hillside suburb of Petionville, the radio reported.
It said another group of youths in Carrefour, a slum neighborhood on capital's southwest side, blocked the road leading to the western part of the country with burning cars and tires and threw rocks at vehicles trying to pass.