PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Thousands of protesters in Haiti’s capital and other major cities blocked roads, closed businesses and marched through the streets Monday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and call for a better quality of life.
Associated Press reporters saw an unidentified man shot and killed a protester in Port-au-Prince, then fled in a car as the crowd temporarily dispersed.
Demonstrator Lionel Jean-Pierre, who witnessed the shooting, said things have gotten out of hand in Haiti.
“Families don’t know what to do,” he said as the crowd chanted around him, “If Ariel doesn’t leave, we’re going to die!”
Violence and kidnappings have exploded in Port-au-Prince and nearby areas in recent months, with warring mobs killing hundreds of civilians in their struggle for territory. They have become more powerful since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last year.
In one of the most recent murders denounced by the prime minister and the Haitian Civil Defense Bureau, suspected gang members killed eight people in one community over the weekend, including a mother and her two daughters who were set on fire while were still alive.
“This collective crime adds to the list of victims … which has reached an alarming proportion,” the office said.
Poverty has also increased, with inflation at 29% and some prices of some basic commodities such as rice more than quadrupling. Gasoline also remains scarce, costing $15 a gallon when available.
“I need the gas to work,” 28-year-old moto taxi driver Garry Larose said as he marched. “I have a family to feed, school to pay for.”
At one protest people wore black T-shirts, while at another protest they wore red T-shirts with the words ‘RISE UP’ on them.
The protests come days after dozens of protesters held a sit-in outside Henry’s official residence and demanded that he resign.
On Monday, police clashed with protesters in some areas and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd as burning tires blocked roads.
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