Civil society groups have called for demonstrations to take place nationwide on Wednesday, October 17, to denounce perceived corruption and the mishandling of public money. Associated protests, e.g. to demand an increase in the minimum wage, are likely in the coming days in the lead-up to October 17. Clashes between protesters and police and other forms of violence (vandalism, roadblocks, etc.) cannot be ruled out.
October 17 is also a bank holiday, when most businesses will be closed. Stores are therefore expected to be crowded over the weekend and early next week as people stock up on goods ahead of the holiday. As such, stores will have more cash on hand than usual, which increases the risk of them being targeted in armed robberies.
Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near any demonstration sites.
The October 17 demonstrations coincide with the 212th anniversary of the death of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a military leader during the Haitian Revolution, and the country's first ruler following independence.
On September 10, the UN warned of the significant risk of significant unrest in Haiti, caused mainly by public frustration over the alleged benefits allotted to public servants and the alleged misuse of PetroCaribe funds, as well as gang violence in Port-au-Prince. Numerous demonstrations have been held in recent months to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse, the liberation of people arrested during violent unrest that broke out July 6-8, and the arrest of individuals implicated in the PetroCaribe corruption scandal.
Individuals in Haiti, especially Port-au-Prince, are advised to monitor the situation, stock up on supplies as early as possible, limit movements on October 17, strictly avoid all protests and associated roadblocks due to the likelihood of violence, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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