PORT-AU-PRINCE – Several people were killed on Sunday during demonstrations called by the Haitian opposition in several cities to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise, the organizers of the protests said.
Thousands came out on the streets of Port-au-Prince and other cities, days after the Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes released a report implicating a company owned by the president in the alleged misuse of Venezuela-sponsored PetroCaribe funds.
Several witnesses told EFE that a police official stoned a person to death in front of the residence of the president and members of the presidential guard charged a group of protesters, leaving one dead and several injured.
Another two people died in the demonstration in Cap-Haitien, according to information provided by the opposition.
Andre Michel, the spokesperson of the principal opposition group, the Democratic and Popular Sector, said in a press conference that seven people were dead and over 100 injured.
“Today, the people went out into the streets peacefully but Jovenel Moise ordered the police to kill them. We are not going to stop until we oust Jovenel from power,” he added.
There have been no official reports of deaths and injured so far.
The PetroChallenger citizens movement described the behavior of several police officials, who it said “create panic and kill civilians” as “unacceptable,” and called for the protests to continue as did several groups and unions, which announced a strike for Monday and Tuesday.
On May 31, Haiti’s Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes sent to parliament its final report on the investigation carried out into the alleged embezzlement of funds from the PetroCaribe program, through which Venezuela supplies oil to the country at below-market prices.
According to the media, the investigation revealed that the company Agritrans, owned by Moise, received millions of dollars to execute several projects which were not carried out.
The report also reveals the existence of a network of officials within the Haitian government, which obtained contracts for friends of ex-president Michel Martelly as well as for former prime minister Laurent Lamothe.
The report by the Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes describes as “serious” the way several governments spent over $2 billion of the PetroCaribe funds between 2008-2016, half of the resources generated by the program during that period.
The report is in the possession of Senate leader Carl Murat Cantave, who will have to submit it to the judiciary.
Haiti is going through a deep economic, political and security crisis, worsened by the massive, violent two-week protests that began on Feb. 7, the same day that Jovenel Moise completed two years in office.
Acting Prime Minister Jean Michel Lapin has also not been able to present his government’s program before the parliament as he was blocked from doing so by parts of the opposition.
On May 30, Lapin failed in his third consecutive attempt to present his plan during a chaotic session, in which opposition senators threw tables and chairs in parliament.
Meanwhile, several violent protests were reported in the streets of the capital, during which protesters burned tires and blocked several roads.