PORT-AU-PRINCE – Thousands of Haitians returned to the streets of Haiti’s capital on Tuesday to demand the resignation of the Caribbean country’s president as opposition leaders called for a nation-wide mass protest scheduled for the end of this week.
The majority of those who demonstrated on Tuesday hailed from the crowded and impoverished neighborhood of Cite-Soleil, known for its lack of infrastructure and basic services such as education, health care and employment.
EFE reporters found that several people were injured while police attempted to contain protesters to prevent them from reaching Champ de Mars Square, located near the National Palace.
“The mobilization will continue. Everyone must respect the decision of the people who demand the resignation of (President) Jovenel Moïse. The international community must already position itself next to the people,” said Andre Michel, one of the leaders of the opposition Democratic and Popular Sector party.
The protesters’ plan is to stay on the streets on Wednesday and Thursday before marching on Friday to the offices of the United Nations in Port-au-Prince, located near the capital’s airport.
On Tuesday, the barricades were less noticeable in the capital following the riots that shook the nation over the weekend. Although businesses remained paralyzed, several closed schools and public transport lines have resumed operations in some areas of the city.
Meanwhile, several human rights groups urged Moïse to make “a historic decision to avoid a deepening political crisis.”
The organizations said in a joint statement that Moïse had lost control over the country ever since the violent riots in July last year, so now he needed to make a “patriotic gesture” and resign from office.
“The country became a microstate under international law. The current authorities are the most blatantly incompetent. They are unable to maintain internal order and security within borders, to meet the needs of the population and to respect the international commitments,” the human rights groups said.
In the wake of the unrest, the government has continued its reshuffle with the appointment of new ministers, general directors and secretaries of state.
According to local media, Moïse presided over Monday’s cabinet meeting via telephone.
The so-called Core Group – which includes UN officials and diplomats from several countries – on Monday held a meeting with Haitian opposition members, according to diplomatic and opposition sources.
Opposition leader Edmonde Supplice Beauzile of the Fusion of Haitian Social Democrats party said that the Core Group called for maintaining democratic order, which did not alter the opposition’s plans to try to force Moïse’s resignation.
The deep economic and political crisis in Haiti worsened at the end of August with fuel shortages at gas stations.
This shortage was due – among several reasons – to importers’ lack of liquidity and the financial problems the government has faced when it comes to footing the bill for the purchase of fuel in the market after the end of shipments of crude oil at subsidized prices from Venezuela.