Thousands march in Haiti to say ‘No to dictatorship’ as peaceful protest turned violent

Miami Herald, By Jacqueline Charles, February 14, 2021

A peaceful march to protest against the reinstatement of a dictatorship in Haiti and demand the ouster of President Jovenel Moïse ended in violence Sunday with at least one dead, several journalists injured and police firing tear gas and rubber bullets onto crowds in the country’s capital.

Billows of black smoke from burning vehicle and tires, used to barricade streets, were observed in the hills above Port-au-Prince, in the latest clashes marking Haiti’s political crisis over the disputed term of Moïse. Protesters have accused the leader of illegally remaining in office because his term, according to the constitution, ended Feb. 7. Moïse disagrees and said he still has until February 2022. The U.S., United Nations and the Organization of American States’ secretary general support his claim.

In Port-au-Prince, the demonstration began shortly after 11 a.m. at Constitutional Place near the National Palace, and initially moved peacefully through the capital. But three hours later, protesters were forced to seek cover in nearby businesses and street corridors to avoid the toxic fumes of police tear gas and rubber bullets as they tried to deliver their message in front of the office of the U.N. and OAS.

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