Haitian Voodoo Protest Denounces Foreign Aid, U.N. Peacekeepers

Voodoo priests say foreign aid and the presence of 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti are holding back the chronically impoverished country.

Voodoo supreme chief Max Beauvoir says Haitians cannot live comfortably among heavily armed U.N. troops and that aid groups accomplish little while preventing locals from helping themselves.

About 300 adherents wearing patron spirits' colors marched Friday near the presidential palace. They poured alcohol before a statue honoring Haiti's rebel slave founders.

Marchers also denounced the Dec. 5 anniversary of Christopher Columbus's 1492 arrival in what is now northern Haiti.

Voodoo is an official religion in Haiti. It mixes Christianity with West African religions.