Some 2,000 people crowded the streets of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, to condemn U.S. President Donald Trump's “shithole” remarks about the first independent Black republic in the Western Hemisphere, as well as African nations.
Some protestors brandished posters of the U.S. head of state sporting an anus in place of his mouth and other caricatures that criticize his statements.
“Trump is a vulgar racist, and a racist is a very poor-minded person,” said Marvel Joseph, a protestor wielding the national flag of Haiti. He went on to say that Haitians “don’t feel any resentment against the American people, who we know largely disapprove of Trump’s behavior in the White House.”
Most recognizable in the protests were members of opposition groups critical of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, whom they accuse of not doing enough to condemn Trump's remarks, according to Reuters.
“Jovenel Moise should step down because he is part of the reason why Trump believes he is allowed to trash talk the country,” decried Stephane Cambry, a supporter of the opposition Pitit Dessalines Party.
Trump has since denied saying “shithole” to refer to Haiti, African countries, as well as El Salvador while attending a White House meeting on immigration earlier this month. However, his denials have been contradicted by several others in attendance at the talks, including Democratic Senator Richard Durbin.
Trump's comments generated an immediate backlash from journalists, political figures, and activists all over the globe.
Prominent Haitian left-wing activist Rene Civil blasted the U.S. president for his comments, calling him “a cancer on the world” and demanding that he apologize to both Haiti and the African continent.
"Haiti is not a 'shithole.' It's a great country. It's the mother of liberty,” Civil said in an interview with Reuters Thursday night as he kissed the Haitian flag.
He also demanded Trump “apologize before the entire African continent as well as before Haiti, the country whose blood has been used by ancestors who have served with their minds and bodies to liberate the United States itself from slavery."
United States scholar Steven Salaita criticized Trump's remarks, calling them "racist" and blasting Trump for likening "Blackness to shit." The countries targeted by Trump were overwhelmingly Black countries, like Haiti, of which he said they "have sent 15,000 people, they all have AIDS."