Violence Erupts In Haiti As Protesters Call For President To Resign
By Sharelle Burt
The violence continues in Haiti.
On the second day of violent protests in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, a police officer was killed and three others injured amid allegations of a corrupt government. Of those injured, two were foreigners visiting the country, a French woman riding with her boyfriend and a Haitian-American tourist who just landed at the Port-au-Prince airport.
The boyfriend, Frances Eugene, said armed men tried to stop an airport shuttle about a half-hour before it got to a popular beach club. When the driver refused to stop, they opened fire. The police officer was reportedly killed by a gang in the capital earlier that day. Associated Press reports that the officer was on a motorcycle and was stopped at a roadblock. The gang then fatally shot him before burning his body in a nearby alley. Because of the violent nature of the protests, schools have been closed.
Demonstrators are fed up with the nation’s president, Jovenel Moïse, and called for him to resign after allegations that a Venezuelan energy program called Petrocaribe went uninvestigated. A deal worth $3.8 billion, protestors claim the money was supposed to be used for projects surrounding the country’s infrastructure and social and economic projects.
The protests started off peacefully as natives marched in the streets only shouting slogans, burning tires and flying black and red flags, in defiance of the country’s official red and blue flag. The red and black flag was replaced by the current one after dictator Jean Claude Duvalier was forced to leave the country in 1986. Once gangs got involved, things turned for the worse. “Haiti is always in crisis, but this crisis is the worst I’ve seen,” said Dieufete Lebon, a taxi driver who was looking for clients during the protests.
Protests in other cities like Jacmel and Cape Haitien were happening at the same time but at a smaller capacity.