PORT-AU-PRINCE – At least one person was killed and several were wounded on Friday in violent demonstrations in the capital of Haiti called by the opposition demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.
The Haitian National Police (PNH) used tear gas as well as lethal and rubber bullets in resisting stone-pelting protests during which several vehicles were damaged.
The protest demonstrations coincided with national hero Jean Jacques Dessalines’ birthday. Dessalines, revered as the father of the nation, proclaimed the country’s independence from France in 1804.
Haiti has been hit by a severe fuel shortage with a crippling effect on its economy coupled with rising inflation.
EFE journalists, citing witnesses, reported that one person was killed while several protesters, including women, suffered wounds.
The demonstrators carried placards and shouted slogans demanding the ouster of Moise, in power since 2017, as they tried to march to the National Palace but were prevented by police.
Several opposition leaders participated in the demonstrations in the west of Port-au-Prince.
The opposition leaders and Haitian social activists demanded trials against those involved in alleged corruption of Petrocaribe, under which Venezuela supplied oil to the Caribbean nation at soft prices and with ease of payments.
The demonstrators braved rains in the Haitian capital and sang songs criticizing the government.
The protesters also opposed the government’s plans to eliminate fuel subsidies, a move that is likely to cause a hike in diesel prices.
Protests have occurred almost daily in Port-au-Prince and other cities in Haiti since last Monday, as a reaction to the fuel crisis, which began since mid-August.
The Haitian opposition said on Thursday that three people died and 69 were injured since last Monday in police action to quell demonstrations and. They said another 77 have been arrested.
Schools, shops, businesses, and public institutions, as well as public transport, have been paralyzed throughout the week.
The government has said that several fuel shipments have arrived in the country, but most of the gas stations remain shut.
Last Tuesday, acting Prime Minister Jean Michel Lapin announced that he would apply an “adjustment” to the price of diesel.