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  • Following the incidents, the Haitian government yesterday cancelled the Carnival celebrations in Port-au-Prince

    Following the incidents, the Haitian government yesterday cancelled the Carnival celebrations in Port-au-Prince | Photo: EFE

Published 25 February 2020
Opinion

In almost all of Port-au-Prince, shops are closed and public transport is paralyzed, a day after Sunday's serious incidents.

The Haitian capital lived another day of protests on Monday, where commercial activities were paralyzed after a bloody shootout between police and military happened on Sunday in downtown Port-au-Prince.

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A demonstration ran down the avenues of the capital's downtown, bringing together dozens of police and civilians in support of the labor demands by the police.

In almost all of Port-au-Prince, the streets are empty, shops closed, and public transportation paralyzed, a day after Sunday's serious incidents.

In the capital, a strong presence by security agents carrying long weapons was notorious, as well as civilians wielding machetes.

On Sunday, a group of policemen dressed as civilians and wearing hoods attacked the headquarters of the Armed Forces; the clashes extended to the central Champ de Mars square, located in front of the Presidential Palace.

The assault lasted more than six hours and caused at least two deaths, including a policeman and a soldier, and ten wounded, including three civilians, according to the army and hospital reports.

The police also attacked the headquarters of Radio Television Caraibes and set fire to several of the station's vehicles, according to journalists from that media outlet.

These incidents "continue to violate the rights of peaceful citizens and worsen the country's economic situation," government authorities said.

The Haitian government has called the events in downtown Port-au-Prince a "war situation," with gunfire throughout the day and streets blocked.

Meanwhile, the general director of the Haitian National Police, Normil Rameau, acknowledged that the police demands are fair and legitimate, but called on his agents to avoid violence, "because the National Police is an apolitical police force."

"The police have no preference or membership. Its membership and preference is the Haitian population and the laws of the Republic and the regulations of the National Police," Rameau said at a press conference.

Following the incidents, the Haitian government yesterday canceled the Carnival celebrations in Port-au-Prince to avoid "a bloodbath."

Haiti has been experiencing strong socio-political instability since July 2018, due to the weakness of the economy, accusations of corruption peppering President Jovenel Moise and growing insecurity.

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