Eerie calm in Haiti after a week of violencesi
Port-au-Prince, Sep 17 (EFE).- Eerie calm prevailed in Haiti on Saturday after days of violent anti-government protests, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Daily life activities resumed in the metropolitan area of the Haitian capital.
Public transport plied almost normally as marketplaces were crowded with people looking to stock up on water and food in a city that has suffered a fuel shortage in the last three months.
People queued up in long lines to buy drinking water from kiosks and supermarkets.
National Directorate of Potable Water and Sanitation head Guito Edouard said it was “essential” to establish a “special humanitarian corridor for the passage of personnel” carrying drinking water.
“Currently, there is a problem with the distribution of drinking water throughout the country, and in particular in the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince,” Edouard said in a statement.
He refers to large areas of the capital controlled by armed gangs.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Port-au-Prince and provincial cities, demanding Henry’s resignation.
The protests paralyzed life with the closure of offices, companies, and banks.
The demonstrations intensified on Monday, hours after Henry announced fuel price hikes in a message to the nation.
Protesters had grown increasingly violent in different parts of the country, where public entities, private firms, and even offices of humanitarian and international organizations were pillaged.
Chaos reigned in the northwestern city of Gonaives, as the premises of the United Nations Office for Project Services was destroyed, apart from several educational institutions such as the Immaculate Conception, Holy Family, and the public university of Gonaives.
The offices of soft drink maker La Brasserie la Couronne were also damaged.
On Thursday, offices of the Catholic charity Caritas Internationalis and the World Food Program came under attack in the same city.
Senior politicians on Saturday called for calm.
Senate speaker Joseph Lambert acknowledged that the situation was critical but denounced the use of violence.
Lambert sought 15 days for political and social leaders to reach an agreement “that takes the country out” of the current situation.
“The national rescue must be achieved,” he said, urging Prime Minister Henry to move from “words to deeds” when he says he is open to dialogue.
A statement called for calm as it continues to “take control of the situation after unrest in various cities of the country.”
Barricades, stones, broken electric poles, burned tires, bottles, and wrought iron scattered over large areas complicate police work to clear roads for emergency use.