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Haiti News Alert

Haiti: Anti-government protests and unrest continues nationwide Feb. 12 /update 12

Anti-government demonstrations continue nationwide February 12; further protests and incidents of unrest expected in the coming days

12 Feb 05:33 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 2/12/2019, 12:00 AM until 2/15/2019, 11:59 PM (America/Port-au-Prince). COUNTRY/REGION Port-au-Prince, Haiti
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Event

Demonstrations calling for the indictment and resignation of President Jovenel Moïse continue in Port-au-Prince and other cities as of Tuesday morning (local time), February 12. Roadblocks and demonstrations were reported in the capital at Carrefour Rita, Carrefour Fleuriot, Gerald Bataille, Boulevard Octobre 15, and Route des Freres, as well as in Gonaïves and at various points along Route Nationale 2 in Carrefour. A suspect prison break was also reported in Aquin (Sud department) on Tuesday morning. 

A protest march is also expected in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, with participants expected to march through Delmas, Bourdon, Bois Verna, and the Champs de Mars, to the Presidential Palace

Leaders of Haitian opposition parties reportedly met on Monday, February 11, and established a joint position demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse and his government. President Moïse, for his part, has refused to step down. Several business leaders, led by the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Association of Haitian Industries, also called on the government to negotiate with opposition parties and to consider the potential dismissal of cabinet members; they stopped short of calling for Moïse to resign. 

Officials in neighboring Dominican Republic reportedly deployed reinforcements, including personnel and equipment, to border crossings on Monday evening amid the ongoing violence. 

Fuel and water distribution as well as sanitation services have continued to experience disruptions since the start of the anti-government protests on February 7. The Haitian National Police (PNH) began escorting fuel deliveries in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday morning after fuel distribution centers had been unable to deliver fuel due to roadblocks and demonstrations. Widespread business disruptions continue nationwide as demonstrators have set fire to and looted several shops in recent days. Security forces continue to deploy reinforcements to protect banks, government offices, court buildings, and utility installations. Further demonstrations and significant transportation disruptions are expected to continue in Port-au-Prince and throughout the country over the coming days. Clashes between security forces and protesters are likely.

Context

Violent demonstrations have been taking place on a daily basis since February 7, with demonstrators erecting roadblocks, burning tires, and throwing rocks at security forces. On February 7, protesters reportedly pelted President Jovenel Moïse's residence with rocks. Violent demonstrations were also reported in Les Cayes (Sud department), Petit-Goâve, Cabaret, Aracahaie (Ouest department), Gonaïves, and Saint-Marc (Artibonite department).

At least eight people have been killed in the demonstrations, with dozens of others suffering injuries. On February 9, a United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) armored personnel carrier accidentally collided with a collective taxi, killing four people in the Canapé Vert area of Port-au-Prince and further exacerbating social unrest. Fuel disruptions were also reportedly impacting the deployment of security personnel on February 10, while the US Embassy issued a shelter-in-place order to its personnel.

Numerous demonstrations have been staged in recent months to call for greater government transparency after several public officials, including President Jovenel Moïse, were implicated in a scandal related to the alleged misuse of PetroCaribe funds. Violent protests took place in late 2018, with gunfire, roadblocks, and mob violence reported across the country.

Advice

Individuals in Haiti are advised to keep abreast of the situation, 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 (e.g. travel restrictions). Be prepared to shelter in place in the event of prolonged civil unrest (e.g. stockpile supplies of preserved foods and fresh water).

 

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