Police Protesters Clash with Government Forces in Haiti Amid Carnival
Police Protesters Clash with Government Forces in Haiti Amid Carnival
Haiti police and army exchange fire in violent protest
27 February, 2020, 05:36
The police protests are not directly related to recent anti-government protests, but they add to the widespread unrest that has gripped the nation since February past year as demonstrators demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise.
The exchange of gunfire on Sunday shattered the opening of Haiti's annual carnival as police and soldiers exchanged volleys of gunfire sending bystanders diving for cover.
Hours after the afternoon battle, government announced that the festival would be cancelled "in order to avoid the planned bloodshed".
A protester throws a molotov cocktail towards the Carnival stand of the Ministry of Defence in Champ de Mars, Port-au-Prince, Haiti February 23, 2020.
The violence broke out when protesting police officers, some in plainclothes and wearing masks, used the opening of the carnival to stage the latest in a series of demonstrations against poor work conditions and demanding to be allowed to unionize.
One of the protesting officers, who had been among five policemen sacked from their jobs, said that at least one of his comrades had been killed and several others wounded in the gun fight with the army.
Other armed men spotted a drone that appeared to be taking images of the violence and followed it to the offices of Radio Caraibes, then began shooting at the broadcaster's building. Haiti's army was disbanded in 1995 after a history of military coups and soldiers committing violent acts.
"We'll continue to demonstrate", said one masked protester who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.
A uniformed police officer in a black-and-white clown mask told reporters outside the palace that officers were demanding the reinstatement of their fired colleagues as well as a pay raise for all officers. Police officers said that they had come under attack first. The uniformed officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Associated Press journalist Evens Sanon reported this story in Port-au-Prince and AP writer Michael Weissenstein reported from Havana. For your security, we've sent a confirmation email to the address you entered.
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