Conflicts & War

Journalist fatally shot at protest in Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Feb 23 (EFE).- A journalist was killed and three other people were wounded during a protest here Wednesday by Haitian workers demanding higher wages.

The fatality was identified as Lazard Maxilien, a photojournalist with digital media outlet Roi des Infos, a source with contacts at the hospital where the shooting victims were taken told Efe.

Wounded in the attack were journalists Sony Laurore and Yves Moise and an unnamed protester.

An Efe journalist at the scene said that the shots appeared to come from a vehicle occupied by men wearing police uniforms.

Police launched tear gas and fired their guns into the air in an attempt to disperse the workers, who hurled rocks at the cops on the first of what are supposed to be three consecutive days of demonstrations in rejection of the wage hikes announced by the government.

After previous rounds of protests led by textile workers, the administration of acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry presented a plan to increase the minimum daily wage in that industry from the equivalent of $5.00 to $6.85.

The workers had demanded the wage be boosted to around $15 a day.

The plan also includes a minimum wage increase for domestic workers to $3.50 a day, while supermarket employees, teachers and other public sector workers are to get at least $7.70 a day.

Haiti has been mired in recession for the last three years and the economic woes are aggravated by political instability and natural disasters.

Henry was installed following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7, 2021, weeks before southwestern Haiti suffered a powerful earthquake.

Some 4.9 million Haitians, or 43 percent of the population, are in need of aid, according to estimates from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Late last year, the Henry administration sharply raised the prices of gasoline, diesel and kerosene, contending that Haiti could no longer afford to spend $300 million a year on fuel subsidies.

The increased fuel prices are burdensome in themselves and have also made basic goods more expensive by raising transportation costs. EFE mm-mp/dr

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