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  • People take to the street to protest against tax hikes, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti September 20, 2017.

    People take to the street to protest against tax hikes, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti September 20, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 September 2017

Protesters argue the new budget will hurt the country's most disadvantaged. 

The Coalition of Democratic Organizations has announced two more days of protests against the 2017-2018 budget.

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“Permanent mobilizations" will take place on Thursday and Friday, said Attorney Andre Michel, spokesperson for the coalition, in the cities of Cap-Haitien, Saint-Marc, Jacmel, Leogâne, Petit-Goave and in the capital Puerto Príncipe.

“This criminal budget means to impoverish the people and spare the middle class,” added the head of the coalition, which gathers opposition lawmakers from the leftist political party Fanmi Lavalas, led by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, along with other parties and social organizations.

Last week, the transport union paralyzed the country in protest against the budget law. The union announced more mobilizations on Oct. 2 and 3.

For the past three days, 45 mayors have gone on strike to protest the controversial bill, reported AlterPresse. The mayors have criticized the bill for not mentioning funding for cities in any chapter.

In response to the series of mobilizations, Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado postponed his visit to Haiti which was planned for Monday.

The bill, introduced by the recently-election administration of President Jovenel Moise and Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, was passed by the country's Congress earlier in September.

The house of representatives only modified one of the controversial articles, Article 17, which implemented higher taxes on Haitian citizens living abroad.

The bill comes as the island recovers from Hurricane Irma which hit the island on Sept. 7, killing one person and leaving 17 injured.

According to the 2017 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, Haiti is the third-most vulnerable country in the world.

Despite the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew last year, the government only allocated about 0.5 percent of this year’s budget to the Ministry of the Environment — despite promising to support local communities and sustainable agriculture.

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