On Sunday, violent clashes broke out in the Haitian capital with two witnesses of Reuters observing shots being fired until late at night, as police escalated their protest over pay and conditions.
Most Violent Clashes
This time the clashes were the most violent as police, this time heavily armed, began protesting at the end of last year as the destitute Caribbean island nation fights with a prolonged economic and political crisis.
The Haitian government released a statement on late Sunday strongly castigating the violence, referring it to as an attack against democracy and freedom, highlighting that it was arduous to assess the scope of the violence.
“Terror reigned in certain areas,” the statement said. “Streets were obstructed and there was a war-like situation at the Champ de Mars (square), where heavy weapons fire was heard almost all day.”
It was not promptly clear who fired the shots or the tear gas during the protest, which resulted in the suspension of the Carnival, a multiday dance and music festival that concludes in a colorful parade.
A stage that was built by the Ministry of Defense and guarded by the army was also set on fire, according to a witness of Reuters. “No money for police officers but enough money for Carnival,” protesters shouted. It was the final straw after a series of other challenges, they said.
Condition of Haiti
“We’ll continue to demonstrate,” shouted one masked protester who refused to be identified for fear of revenge. Local television broadcasted footage of two cars set on fire whereas the local radio reported many were wounded along with one death. Reuters was unable to verify the injuries or fatality.
Some protesters were wearing cream and blue police uniforms and had guns; however had their faces covered, when they booted from the upscale Delmas neighborhood toward the large Champ de Mars public square.
Since January, Jovenel Moise, Haiti President has been ruling by decree, following the country failed to uphold elections and the mandates of lower house deputies and most senators expired in October.
The political situation has slashed Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, off from some international funding. This has further hindered its ability to respond to the worsening economic crisis, including food shortages.
One in three Haitians, around 3.7 million people, require urgent food assistance, up from 2.6 million people at the end of 2018. Haiti ranks 111 out of 117 countries on the Global Hunger Index, near-poor sub-Saharan African countries.
Hello, I’m Anna Yeo. If you like my news coverage, please drop a good word in my inbox. I’m journalist by profession and have been part of many major reporting across the globe. I like to write crisp and factual news. I have completed my masters degree in journalism. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]