Haiti: Five killed as protest against prime minister spreads

Five armed agents of an environmental protection group were killed in clashes with the police on Wednesday, authorities said, as protests demanding Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s resignation intensified.

According to the police, the agents of the Security Brigade for Protected Areas (BSAP), now in open rebellion, refused police orders to disarm and were subsequently killed in a shootout in the capital Port-au-Prince. Three other members of the agency were arrested, authorities said.

Unrest and a vacant presidency

Protests have swept through Haiti as increasingly violent demonstrations call for the Henry’s resignation.

Henry came into power after the that plunged the Caribbean country into utter chaos.

According to a 2022 non-binding accord, Henry was supposed to hold elections and then cede power on February 7, 2024.

Henry has since said that are not conducive to holding free and fair elections. An aide of his indicated that the PM intends to form a government of national unity.

Since 2016, there have been no elections in Haiti, even as the presidency lies vacant.

‘We can’t take it anymore’

also comes as former coup leader Guy Philippe, released from US prison last year, called for a “revolution” against Henry’s government.

Local media reports said several members of BSAP are former soldiers who fought alongside Philippe in the 2004 ousting of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Calling for Henry to step down, a protesting motorcycle taxi driver told AFP news agency: “I hope he will listen to reason. Otherwise, the voice of the people will be listened to.”

Local media reported that a police station in the northeastern province of Ouanaminthe was attacked on Tuesday evening.

Since Monday, major roads and schools throughout the country have been shut down.

Highlight the , poverty, and governance failures another protester said, “The country is being held hostage by gangs. We can’t eat. We can’t send our children to school …We can’t take it anymore.”

ss/kb (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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