Protests Over Fuel Prices Erupt in Haiti
February 10, 2015 By Staff
Top Story — A two-day strike in protest of high fuel prices in Haiti left the streets of Port-au-Prince abnormally deserted on Monday, after organizers told citizens they would be risking their lives if they drove on the streets.
An influential minibus drivers’ union teamed up with anti-government protesters to call for the two-day strike over energy prices. Strikers also set up blockades of burning tires along the thoroughfares. The protesters demand that fuel prices — which have recently been reduced by the government — be slashed by another 50 percent, in light of the significant drop in global oil prices since November.
The police reportedly arrested 20 people during the protests. One police officer was stabbed while attempting to move a burning tire in the Cité Soleil slum. The protests and violence come as many Haitians are preparing for the annual Carnival, normally a festive and peaceful time in the country.
In a statement responding to the protests, Prime Minister Evans Paul said that the government “cannot lower the price of petrol. It’s not that we do not want to, it’s because we are not able to.”
Anger over fuel prices is just the latest reason why thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets in the past several months. The bulk of protests have centered around delayed elections for local offices, the Chamber of Deputies and most of the Senate, which were meant to take place in 2011. President Michel Martelly’s administration and members of the opposition were unable to reach a consensus over the delayed elections by the Jan. 12 deadline, after which Martelly began to rule by decree.
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Image:Washington Post video, screengrab