Civil society groups have called for demonstrations to take place nationwide on Wednesday, October 17, to demand action surrounding the PetroCaribe corruption scandal and the mishandling of public money more generally. A number of related protests have already taken place in recent hours, including street violence in the capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday morning (local time) and clashes with police in Port Lalue on Monday evening. Student protests are also expected to take place on Tuesday beginning around 14:00 outside the Marriott hotel in the Canapé Vert area of Port-au-Prince; roadblocks and associated violence are also anticipated in the following areas beginning Tuesday evening: Delmas 17, Delmas 18, Delmas 19, Delmas 30, Champ de Mars, Martissant, Bel Air, and Carrefour. Many stores have or will close early on Tuesday ahead of the expected unrest.
Protests on Wednesday are set to take place in Port-au-Prince as well as in Petit-Goâve (Ouest department), Cap-Haïtien (Nord), Gonaïves and Saint-Marc (Artibonite), Les Cayes (Sud), Jérémie (Grand'Anse), Ouanaminthe (Nord-Est), and Jacmel (Sud-Est). Clashes between protesters and police and other forms of violence (vandalism, roadblocks, etc.) are likely. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near any demonstration sites; all scheduled police leave has been canceled for October 17.
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 October 16-17, 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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