Haiti comes to a standstill a day after violent police protest
Port-au-Prince, Nov 27 (EFE).- All activity came to a standstill in Haiti on Friday, a day after escalated tensions in the capital, Port-au-Prince, during a police protest over the killing of officers by armed groups.
Schools, banks and businesses, both public and private, remained closed, and embassies and consulates did not open their doors to the public.
In the capital, public transport came to a virtual halt and hardly any people could be seen on the streets.
On Thursday, the police staged a protest against what they perceive to be the government’s indifference to the deaths of 14 of their comrades in less than a month, including on the previous day.
On Friday, the National Police announced the launch of a new operation, dubbed “Tornado 1” to respond to the armed gangs that have gained power in the country and control much of Port-au-Prince and its surroundings.
These groups have been terrorizing the population, including the police, for months, leading many people to flee their homes.
The spiral of violence, along with the socioeconomic and political crisis that the country is also facing, has left no one untouched.
On Friday, the humanitarian organization, Doctors without Borders announced the suspension of its activities at the Dr. Raoul Pierre Louis public hospital, located in Carrefour, at the southern entrance of the capital, after the killing of a patient.
Armed men entered the hospital on Thursday, took a wounded patient out of the emergency room and shot him in the head. It was the second such incident in six months.
“Faced with this unacceptable level of violence, we have no other choice than to temporarily suspend all our activities in Raoul Pierre Louis hospital. We will suspend activities for as long as we cannot guarantee the safety of our staff and patients,” Benoit Vasseur, MSF’s head of mission in Haiti, said in a statement.
“We are again shocked by this act of brutal retribution, which violates all humanitarian principles and the protection this patient should have had inside a medical structure,’ he added.
On Thursday, demonstrators blocked streets, torched vehicles and even attacked the private residence of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
The attack came as Henry was en route back to Haiti from Argentina, where he attended the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
The violence in the vicinity of Port-au-Prince’s Toussaint Louverture International Airport forced the landing of Henry’s plane to be delayed.
Although Haiti has been mired in crisis and violence for years, the situation worsened after the assassination in July 2021 of then-President Jovenel Moïse.
In October last year, Haiti’s government issued a formal appeal for an intervention by foreign military forces to restore order following which UN Secretary General António Guterres urged the international community to send a “rapid action force” to the country, which has not yet materialized. EFE