NEW YORK - To mark the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti which claimed over 200,000 lives and left a million people displaced, demonstrators took to the streets in New York City Wednesday to call for an end of the foreign troops in Haiti and the release of all emergency funding earmarked for that improvished country.
Hundreds of people, many of them Haitians, assembled in Times Square and marched through snowy midtown for a rally outside the Haitian Consulate on Madison Avenue, ending at the United Nations building. They carried signs saying "Give the Haitian People Jobs" and "Remove the Rubble Now."
Among the speakers was the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network. He called for international solidarity and assistance for Haiti. Ray Laforest, an organizer of the demonstration, said "the popular sector should be at the forefront of decision making in building a new Haiti that represents the interests of the majority."
Meantime, at UN headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took part in a wreath-laying ceremony timed to coincide with the exact moment the earthquake struck, 4.53 pm on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. The quake claimed the lives of 102 UN staffers, the highest death toll from a single event in UN history.