2019 Haitian protests

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2019 Haitian protests
2019 Haitian protests tire fire.png
Tires burning during protests on 11 February 2019
Date7 February 2019 (2019-02-07) – ongoing (42 days)
Location
Caused by
Goals
Parties to the civil conflict
Protesters
Lead figures
Number
Thousands[1]
Casualties
Death(s)9[2]
InjuriesDozens[1]

The 2019 Haitian protests are demonstrations in cities throughout Haiti that began on 7 February 2019, demanding the resignation of the president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse.[1] Led by opposition politician Jean-Charles Moïse, protesters state that their goal is to create a transitional government to provide social programs and to prosecute allegedly corrupt officials.[3][4]

Events[edit]

Background[edit]

Protests began following reports from a court that high-level officials of the Haitian government had misused up to US$3.8 billion in loans from Venezuela's Petrocaribe and that President Moïse had been involved in corruption.[1][5][6][7] Economic problems including the increased cost of living also fueled protests in the nation.[6]

Protests[edit]

On the first day of demonstrations, protesters targeted the luxury vehicles of wealthy Haitians, damaging them.[6] The following day on 8 February, mayors of some cities announced the cancellation of pre-Carnival events.[6] Protests on 9 February resulted in more clashes with police, with demonstrators throwing stones at the home of President Moïse after security personnel of one of his allies struck a woman's car and began to beat her.[8]

On 12 February, protesters burned down a popular market, looted various stores and assisted with a prison break in Aquin that freed all of the facility's prisoners.[5][9] In Port-au-Prince, the building housing the consulates general of Italy and Peru was also looted by protesters.[7][10] President Jovenel Moïse addressed the country on 14 February, saying he would not step down, stating "I, Jovenel Moïse, head of state, will not give the country up to armed gangs and drug traffickers".[11]

During a funeral procession on 22 February, Haitian police fired tear gas at a crowd of about 200 people carrying the casket of a man killed during protests days earlier.[12] Opposition leader Schiller Louidor called for future protests, though the overall size of protests began to subside that day.[12]

Actions[edit]

Jovenel Moïse government[edit]

President Jovenel Moïse has called for his opposition to participate in peaceful dialogue stating "the country’s problems aren’t solely political. The country’s problems are social, economic and political".[6] The national police has stated that there are "malicious individuals" who had interrupted peaceful protests in the country.[13]

Opposition[edit]

The opposition has been led by Jean-Charles Moïse.[3] This opposition has declined offers for dialogue, has demanded Jovenel Moïse's resignation[6] and has organized a nationwide general strike to force him to resign from office.[9] Jean-Charles Moïse, alongside opposition lawmakers, has called for a transitional government to replace Jovenel Moïse with Jean-Charles stating "If Jovenel Moïse does not want to step down from power, we are going to name an interim president in the coming days".[3][4]

Arrests[edit]

The Port-au-Prince newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported on February 18 that a Haitian citizen and seven non-Haitians were arrested in the city. At the time of their arrest, they were allegedly carrying rifles, pistols, drones and satellite phones in their vehicle.[14] The Haitian Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond confirmed that among them were five Americans.[15] One among them was reportedly from Serbia, according to other local media sources.[14]

Media[edit]

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, some reporters have been targeted by protesters.[13] One Reuters journalist, Robenson Sanon, was wounded during the protests, but believes that it was coincidental because he was caught in-between clashes.[13]

Response[edit]

Governments[edit]

  •  United States: The United States Department of State spokesperson for Western Hemisphere Affairs stated, "We support the right of all people to demand a democratic and transparent government and to hold their government leaders accountable...but there is no excuse for violence. Violence leads to instability, less investment, and fewer jobs".[7] The United States has prepared humanitarian assistance to ensure food security in Haiti and called for those responsible for corruption to be held accountable.[16]

Intergovernmental organizations[edit]

  •  CARICOM: The body stated that it "is deeply concerned about the continuing violent protests in Haiti, which have resulted in the loss of life, property, destruction of infrastructure and caused grave distress" and "calls for calm and a cessation of the violence, appealing to all involved to engage in constructive dialogue and to respect the constitution, the rule of law and democratic processes so that issues can be resolved in a peaceful atmosphere and allow for the return to a state of normalcy".[17]
  •  Organization of American States: Secretary General Luis Almagro stated "We call upon all actors to fully participate in the dialogue process, to respect the democratic process, and to resort to peaceful ways to solve conflicts".[13]
  •  United Nations: The United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti in a statement said the group "deplores the loss of life and property damage caused by the unacceptable acts of violence that took place on the margins of the rallies, while acknowledging the professionalism demonstrated by the Haitian National Police as a whole" and called "on the Haitian society actors, and primarily the country's leaders, to engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue in order to identify and implement realistic and lasting solutions to the political and economic crisis currently occurring in Haiti".[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Deadly protests hit Haiti capital". BBC News. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Death toll rises in Haiti protest crackdown". Al Jazeera. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Haiti: Thousands protest against corruption | DW | 8 February 2019". Deutsche Welle. 8 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b Lemaire, Sandra; Vilme, Matiado (12 February 2019). "Angry Haitians Demand Regime Change". Voice of America. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Inmates escape from Haiti prison". BBC News. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "As protests and deaths escalate in Haiti, mayors cancel pre-Carnival parties". The Miami Herald. 8 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "US Deplores Haiti Violence". Voice of America. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Protesters Stone Haitian President's Home, Battle Police". Voice of America. 9 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Haiti president recalls top envoy amid ongoing violent protests, calls for resignation". The Miami Herald. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Haiti - FLASH : 6th day of paralysis, the country sinks into chaos..." Haiti Libre. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Haiti's president defies violent protests, will not step down". Reuters. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  12. ^ a b "Haiti police fire rubber pellets at mourners as protests resume". Reuters. 2019-02-23. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  13. ^ a b c d "Haiti President Jovenel Moise defiant amid deadly protests and calls for his resignation". CNN. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  14. ^ a b Daniel, Frank Jack (2019-02-18). "Americans arrested in Haiti with weapons: media". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  15. ^ Marquez, Miguel (February 18, 2019). "5 Americans arrested in Haiti". CNN. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  16. ^ "U.S. looks to send food aid to Haiti as violence brews humanitarian crisis". The Miami Herald. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  17. ^ "CARICOM head condemns violence in Haiti". Nation News. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Press Release of the Core Group – 10 February 2019". United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti. 10 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.