Crime & Justice

Thousands take to streets in Haiti to protest lack of security

Port-au-Prince, Aug 7 (EFE).- Thousands of Haitians took to the streets of Port-au-Prince on Monday to march in protest against the lack of security – a situation created by the activities of armed gangs that are forcing uncounted thousands of people to become internally displaced refugees – and to criticize the authorities for their inaction.

All along the march route, some of the demonstrators hurled stones at various government and other buildings and used burning tires to erect barricades, all the while shouting anti-government slogans.

A musical group performed during the march, which was made up mainly of young people waving tree branches. The procession departed from Carrefour-Feuilles and headed for the offices of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Most of the protesters came from the Carrefour-Feuilles district, a formerly peaceful neighborhood in southern Port-au-Prince that in recent months has been the target of intense attacks by armed gangs seeking control of the area.

“The armed gangs refuse to let us sleep in peace. They’re forcing everybody to leave their homes. All the young people have had to flee … They recently killed a peace-loving policeman,” a citizen told EFE.

“Despite constant calls for help, the police never come to our aid. People defending themselves have to face the gangs alone,” he added.

The demonstrators expressed their determination to continue resisting the gangs that have vowed to invade the area, saying that they don’t want to leave their neighborhoods in the hands of the criminals who sow terror around the clock.

“They’ve killed a lot of people, including children. They’ve killed police officers,” said another protester on a motorcycle, who added that the authorities are living in luxury while leaving most of the public to get by any way they can in extreme poverty.

That is why the protesters are calling on the authorities to assume their appropriate responsibilities and reinforce the Carrefour-Feuilles police station, which serves the neighborhoods of Descayettes and Savannes Pistaches, an area that is in the crosshairs of armed groups headed by Gran Ravine gang leader Renel Destina, also known as Ti Lapli, and gang lord and rapper Izo Vilaj de Dye.

The Carrefour-Feuilles area will be a strategic coup for the armed groups, if it falls under their sway, since holding onto that turf will extend their control over several districts of Port-au-Prince and facilitate their movement throughout the heart of the capital.

EFE –/bp

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