After Police Demonstrations, Haiti’s Opposition Announces the Resumption of Protests

André Michel of the Democratic and Popular Sector opposition front: “2020 will be a year of total and steadfast struggle.” Photo: AP Photo/Edris Fortuné

The Democratic and Popular Sector, a leading opposition front, announced on Tue., Mar. 10 that demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse would resume, although it did not set a precise date.

André Michel, the group’s spokesperson, said that Haiti’s socio-political and economic crisis has worsened with the government’s new “unilateral” structure, which has the support of the “international community.” He was referring to the fact that, on Jan. 13, Moïse dissolved the Haitian parliament and began ruling by decree, all with the support of Washington and its allies.

“The people understand today more than ever that they have the obligation to pursue the fight because Jovenel Moïse has installed a de facto government,” the lawyer and political activist told reporters.

Michel asserted that the people will not accept “rigged elections” by the current administration, which aims to keep power for “public funds embezzlers.”

“2020 will be a year of total and steadfast struggle,” he predicted.

Michel also criticized the Haitian Army, which Moïse remobilized in November 2017 after a 22 year hiatus. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide had disbanded the force in 1995 for its persistent role in coups d’état, corruption, and human rights abuses. On Feb. 23, there was a six-hour firefight between policemen and soldiers that left at least three dead and dozens wounded.

Michel said that his law office had filed a complaint against the Armed Forces of Haiti (FAdH) for “murder and criminal association,” given its close and loyal support of President Moïse and his embattled clique.

The announcement of rallies-to-come takes place after the Haitian police again took to the streets of the capital on Mon., Mar. 9 and Tue. Mar. 10 to demand wage increases, better working conditions, and the right to form a union.

Monday’s protest blocked the main thoroughfares of Port-au-Prince, and police agents along with protesters used tear gas to force the closure of institutions such as the National Office for Old Age Insurance (OFNAC), the Fund for Economic and Social Assistance (FAES), and the National Archives.

Heavily armed individuals identifying themselves as police officers attacked a judge’s vehicle and demanded the rehiring of officers dismissed from the corps for demanding a union and the release of others allegedly detained for political reasons.

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