In a dramatic turn of events, protests erupted on Monday in various Haitian cities, including the capital Port-au-Prince, demanding the departure of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Security forces responded with tear gas grenades and rubber bullets, heightening tensions across the country.
A growing number of Haitians accuse Prime Minister Ariel Henry of holding onto power and failing to organize general elections. Henry assumed leadership shortly after President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination in July 2021, pledging to conduct elections when deemed safe. Protests have surged as frustrations grow over the delay in the electoral process.
In Port-au-Prince, the epicenter of the demonstrations, routine activities were severely disrupted. Schools remained closed, businesses operated minimally, and public transport faced disruptions. Demonstrators wielding machetes and occasional bursts of automatic weapons added to the intensity. Barricaded roads underscored the palpable tension as a significant number of protesters demanded Prime Minister Henry’s departure.
Provincial towns, including Trou-du-Nord, Terrier-Rouge, Fort-Liberté, Les Cayes, Cap-Haitien, Gonaïves, Ouanaminte, Hinche, and Jérémie, witnessed escalating tensions. Banks and public institutions ceased operations, and large-scale retail and industrial parks were severely impacted. Clashes in Les Cayes resulted in one fatality, with several others injured, further fueling the outrage against the government. Looting and blockades were reported, intensifying the unrest.
As tensions continue to escalate, the Haitian government faces mounting pressure to address the grievances of its citizens and navigate a path towards political stability and democratic governance.