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Crisis: Intensification of anti-government demonstrations punctuated by violence in several cities in Haiti


Jérémie (Haiti), Jan. 30, 2024 [AlterPresse] — Street movements, sometimes punctuated by violence, have been increasing for several days in different provincial towns to demand the departure of de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry, according to information gathered by the online agency AlterPresse.

Mobilizations against Ariel Henry were observed in several cities in the provinces, such as Cap-Haïtien (North), Cayes (South), Gonaïves (Artibonite), Jérémie (Grande Anse/ part of the South-West), Trou du Nord, Terrier Rouge, Fort Liberté and Ouanaminthe (North-East), Miragoâne (Nippes, other part of the South-West), Petit-Goave (West), causing disruption to commercial, school and public transport activities.

Two people died during protests in the North-East department, according to media reports.

In Cap-Haitien, Les Cayes, Ouanaminthe and Petit-Goâve (68 km south of Port-au-Prince), protesters set up barricades of burning used tires in the streets, as a sign of protest against the incapacity of the de facto government to restore security in the country.

On Monday January 29, 2024, at the call of the main leader of the political party Pitit Dessalines, Jean-Charles Moïse, a demonstration to demand the resignation of Ariel Henry, before Wednesday February 7, 2024, brought together thousands of people in the city ​​of Cap-Haïtien.

Also, on Monday January 29, 2024, in the commune of Roseaux (Grande Anse), Gilbert Merzier was shot and killed during a muscular intervention by agents of the Haitian National Police (Pnh) to disperse a crowd of demonstrators and demonstrators, who demanded the resignation of Ariel Henry.

During this street movement, barricades of burning used tires were installed on the roadway, paralyzing automobile traffic.

In Jérémie, journalist Xavier Charlemagne from Radio Lanbi was injured in the foot when Pnh agents dispersed a group of people who were preparing to mobilize in the streets.

Commercial and educational activities as well as the functioning of state offices were disrupted.

The death of Gilbert Merzier brings to five (5) the number of people killed since the start of the protest movements in Grande Anse against the de facto government.

Four people (some of whom died of their injuries in hospital) were shot dead and several others injured, during a shooting which took place on Monday January 22, 2024 in the town of Jérémie, during a protest anti-government.

During a press conference in Jérémie on Monday January 29, 2024, agents of the Protected Areas Surveillance Brigade (Bsap) declared their support for anti-government mobilizations aimed at liberating Haiti and reiterated their support for former police officer Guy Philippe and Jeantel Josephformer director general of the National Agency for Protected Areas (Anap), structure in charge of Bsap within the Ministry of the Environment (Mde).

Since his deportation from the United States to Haiti, Thursday, November 30, 2023, after 6 years of imprisonment in American territory for drug traffickingGuy Philippe multiplies his interventions to the press as well as his travels throughout Haiti, even calling for a “revolution” in the country.

On Wednesday June 21, 2017, Guy Philippe was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment in the United States of America for cocaine trafficking.

“No environmental agent with firearms, whatever they may be, and under no circumstances, is authorized, whether in uniform or not, to circulate in cities”according to a press release from the de facto government of Ariel Henry.

“The government of the Republic of Haiti, through the Ministry of the Environment, asks all employees and all people attached to the institution to report to the nearest office of the Ministry of the Environment, in with a view to being counted”, we still read in the press release published a few days after the dismissal of Jeantel Joseph at the head of Anap by an order of the de facto government.

Bsap agents recently expressed their anger after the dismissal of their leader Jeantel Joseph, while demanding the rapid withdrawal of this decree.

A technical commission for restructuring Anap, the structure in charge of Bsap, was set up on January 23.

The technical restructuring commission is granted “one month to accomplish its mission”. [emb rc apr 30/01/2024 11:30]