L The demonstrations of 17 October 2018, in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince and in the various provincial towns, constitute, without any doubt, the most important since 2003 and 2004. No demonstration of Street announced and planned did not affect in the same day as many communes, or 1/3 (forty), and grouped as many individuals. The photographs of this human tide breaking on the Delmas highway and the fact that the ten largest districts were mobilized, with the exception of Dessalines, say a lot. Remember that each borough contains several communes.
However, in the aftermath of this day as everywhere else the discord was not slow to appear around the figures. If for the press there were several tens of thousands for the organizers, there were more than one million. But, how to approach this question? This effort of analysis tries to break with this tendency to the facility categorizing regularly the number of demonstrators is in some or several tens, or in some or several hundred, or in some or several thousands, or in some or tens of thousands without demonstration and clear figures in support. We must not continue to turn away from science to trust the sensational
Without pretending to realize a sociology of events, a look at the participants and their immediate environment is necessary above all. Two remarks matter. In the first place, urban areas are more prone to major events because of their demographics. Secondly, young people remain the most enterprising layer. And this, both West and East. With six million of its population or 60% living in urban areas in 2015 according to the World Bank and knowing that this space is the preferred place of housing for young people, Haiti has favorable factors for the realization of impressive events. Not to mention, dynamism and availability because of the precarious socio-economic conditions of this youth. Farther will be used this fact for the appreciation of the number of demonstrators.
If it is common to meet clear figures in the balance sheets of the demonstrations immediately after their realization in France, Venezuela, Brazil, the Dominican Republic between others, it remains different in Haiti. And, this certainly for various reasons, such as ignorance of certain techniques, economic limits and political acquaintances. To overcome this trend, several methods can be used. Thus, some are mentioned
1) The evaluation of space
Every manifestation takes place within a given space. Either it is circumscribed in a public square or in front of an institution among others, or it runs through the arteries of a defined place. In the first case, a preliminary assessment of the perimeter capacity will produce an estimate of the number. This can be done a posteriori also. In the second case, the peak moment, namely where the number seems the highest, will have to be determined, because it is less easy to compute.
After setting the peak moment, in both cases, we proceed to the evaluation of the space. For a walk, remember the place where the first row was and the last row at that moment. From there, we measure its length thanks to data easily accessible on the internet from google map. Then, it becomes necessary to define the width of the street where the demonstrators walk. The 2005 decree in its article 9 fixes the minimum width, any new lane must be 13 meters and the roadway will have not less than 7 meters.
The other operation to be carried out is the multiplication of the length by the already established width of this strong moment of manifestation. The result obtained will represent the number of square meters covered by the people. The last step will be to specify the number of individuals per m². And, this depends on the density, to say better of the space separating each of them. Which can range from one protester to four. Finally, the number of individuals per m² will be multiplied by the perimeter of the space covered to obtain an overall estimate.
2) The control of the rows on each line
Some institutions and organizers also proceed by other methods, such as fixing an imaginary line, either at a point on the path of the walk, or by choosing the peak moment. Then, they define the number of protesters in a row, and note each time that one of them crosses the established line. Thus, by multiplying the number of individuals included in a row by the number of times that line is traversed by a row, an estimate of the number of demonstrators is made.
3) Comparison of photographs of other countries [19659002Thereisnoworseapproachthanstubbornlyrefusingoneselftoopennesstosimilarfactsencounteredoutsideone'simmediatespacetocarryoutone'sanalyzesProtestsfromstreetdemonstrationsbeingarecurrentphenomenonobservedacrossallsocietiesshouldserveasusefuldataforitsevaluationsThephotographsofitshumantidesaswellastheestimateofthenumberofparticipantsaccessibleonsearchengineslikegooglecanconstitutemodelstobetterappreciatetheknownmanifestationsinHaitiHoweverthistechniqueismoreeffectiveforlargegatheringsstableinpublicplacesamongothers
4) The use of drones
Thanks to technological advances some tools, such as drones, facilitate a reception of More accurate images through aerial views. The field of view of any observer is limited when it is in the heart of the march. Only an aerial view will ensure full capture Haiti, it is appalling to see the use of drones during carnival periods by the media to share the images of the crowds or by the police during some mobilizations for security issues, yet when he These are big events, they are never used to get an exact idea of the course of these events and the number of demonstrators. The use of this small camera-equipped aircraft may be an instrument to help enumerate demonstrators.
However, other parameters are used to supplement their assessment in countries where road and technological infrastructures are more important and accessible. . As is often the case in France where the volume of smartphone users in the meeting places is taken into account as well as the extent of the use of means of transport such as the metro and buses to the points of sale. encounter of a march. If these two parameters are not viable in Haiti, other elements are important, however, to improve our appreciation of events such as the social category component, the course defined and the duration of the exercise.
a) The category social component
The previous look at the configuration of the population is not trivial. The fact that the latter is made up of about two-thirds of young people, largely in urban areas and that it is regularly observed that the great majority of demonstrators are composed of this social category, two consequences follow. First, a consistency in the density of the number of protesters along the way, because of the stamina of the young compared to the older ones. Although this fact can generate equally harmful elements. Secondly, the dynamism shown by this component and the animation created makes the events a center of attraction for the spectators. This tends to swell the ranks
b) The definite course
Once again, the previous look at the environment is important. The fact of being in an urban environment facilitates both the accessibility of a larger number, because the population is larger but also, the possibility for a non-negligible number of spectators to acquiesce, to applaud and to support by various ways the crowd during his passage. Element to consider as this is part of the protesters. The defined route has two other implications. First, it can be a pole of attraction for some people like going to Pétion city. Considering the latter as the city of the elite, some see it as an opportunity to make an unforgettable visit and others see it as overcoming a challenge. These last factors contribute to the increase of the number of participants particularly from the most neglected layers by the State.
c) The duration of the march
It is certain that an imposing manifestation in number with a duration Longer promotes the multiplication of the amount of participants. It becomes decisive because it allows not only the latecomer to join the crowd. On the other hand, time will help the development of the contagion phenomenon, in the sense of Gustave Lebon, which not only produces links between individuals but invites others to join the crowd.
Note that these three factors contribute to the significant increase of a march, to the extent that the population supports mobilizations as was the case for the events of October 17, 2018. Thus, institutions that assume, must have the courage to go out in the shadow to produce estimates, based on clear techniques, the number of protesters at each popular mobilization. The concern for the truth must serve as a compass regardless of the caprice of the rulers within the state apparatus, the organizers that it is organization of the civil society or political party. Far from being exhaustive, this article is part of an effort of objectivity on this decisive phenomenon in the production of the present and the future of Haiti.
By Stanley Augustin
Master's Degree in Fundamental Rights
Training in Sociology and Parliamentarianism augustinstanley88 @ gmail. com