two dead and injured in violence between police and soldiers

The police demonstration degenerated on Sunday February 23 in Port-au-Prince.
The police demonstration degenerated on Sunday February 23 in Port-au-Prince. God Nalio Chery / AP

Violence between disgruntled Haitian police and soldiers left two dead and a dozen injured on Sunday, February 23, in Port-au-Prince, causing great tension in the Haitian capital and causing the government to cancel the carnival that was supposed to be there. hold until Tuesday.

In a statement released in the evening, the government said it observed "With concern and dismay that terror has reigned in certain arteries in the metropolitan area of ​​Port-au-Prince". "In order to avoid the scheduled bloodshed (…), it was decided to cancel the carnival ", he added.

Police demonstrating for better working conditions attacked Haitian army headquarters in central Port-au-Prince on Sunday. Military staff described assault by individuals "Hooded and armed with firearms".

“We are under assault. We are under fire from all kinds of weapons, automatic rifles, Molotov cocktails, tear gas ”, Jodel Lesage, the general of the country's armed forces, said earlier today. "Because we are attacked, there have been responses", had made known the general. Its headquarters are near Place du Champ-de-Mars.

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"War situation"

The Haitian military has reported one dead and one wounded in its ranks. According to a hospital source, a police officer was also killed, as well as a dozen other injured people.

"Street obstructions and a war situation are taking place in the Champ-de-Mars area, where gunfire has been heard almost all day. It’s difficult at this time to take stock of this incredible violence ”, the government said in its press release.

For several months, the police have been demanding better working conditions and demanding, in particular, the right to form a union which would ensure transparency in negotiations with their hierarchy. Last week, some of them demonstrated in the streets, blocked roads, burned vehicles.

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Political and economic crisis

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on Saturday announced a series of measures to try to stem the crisis, including the creation of a relief fund for police officers killed in the line of duty and a fund for coverage insurance.

Since the beginning of the year, Haiti has witnessed an increase in kidnappings for ransom, which are added to the struggles between armed bands which regularly prevent traffic on the main roads of the country. Furthermore, no solution has yet been found to the political crisis which has paralyzed the country for more than a year and which is coupled with a very deep economic crisis.

Already in 2019, the carnival had been canceled in Port-au-Prince following violence during demonstrations demanding the departure of President Jovenel Moïse. This year, however, the authorities had hoped it could take place, as it represents a festive breath for the people as well as an economic windfall for local businesses.

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