Haitians protest rising insecurity; some attack a plane

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitians took to the streets Tuesday to protest rising insecurity, with demonstrations turning violent in the southern city of Les Cayes where people stormed the airport and attacked a small plane owned by a U.S. missionary group. At least one person was killed and five other people were hurt in the clash between protesters in Les Cayes and the authorities, according to Gedeon Chery (a National Police Inspector assigned to the airport).

Chery told The Associated Press the person killed was a protester who was shot, but he didn’t say whether police were responsible.

The protests coincided with the 35th anniversary of Haiti’s 1987 Constitution and follow other protests and strikes in recent weeks amid a spike in gang-related kidnappings and complaints about Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s inability to confront gangs. Henry posted on Twitter that he condemned violence in Les Cayes, and ordered authorities to find those responsible.

Chery, the police inspector, said a group of people had gotten onto the terminal’s tarmac, attacked the plane and set it on fire. A social media video showed people sitting on the fuselage of the aircraft while others ran alongside it on the tarmac. Chery claimed he did not know the reason for their attack.

Agape Flights is a Christian mission that transports supplies to missionaries in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They stated in a statement, “Our team .”

It claimed Agape‚Äôs Chieftain plane was destroyed, and they are preparing for the return of the ministry’s staff to the U.S .

” Our missionary affiliates have been told that they believed it to be a politician’s plane that they were destroying”

People also protested in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince, where some burned tires. Henry’s inability to manage the security situation was also criticised by protesters.

“He only has words to say and even more empty words to express his disapproval,” Marie-Andre Michelle said, one of those who marched in Port-au-Prince.

Violence has increased despite promises by the prime minister to reduce insecurity.

Kidnappings in Haiti increased 180% in 2021, with 655 of them reported to police, according to mid-February report by the U.N. Security Council. The number of kidnappings that go unreported by authorities could make it higher.

Along with violence, Haiti has been also dealing with the ongoing sluggish investigation of President Jovenel Moise’s killing last July 7, and a magnitude-7.2 earthquake that killed over 2,200 people in the country’s south last August.

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