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VIDEO: Thousands protest in Haiti over rising insecurity and inflation 

Many barricades, some lit up on fire, were set up in several cities including the capital of Port-au-Prince

August 23, 2022 6:11am

Updated: August 23, 2022 9:57am

Thousands of Haitians took to the streets on Monday to protest against the violent crime wave that has taken over the country, soaring consumer prices, and fuel shortage.

Protesters held rallies in cities including Cap-Haitien, Petit-Goave, and Jacmen, while wearing red shirts that had “independence” written on them. Many barricades, some lit up on fire, were set up in several cities including the capital of Port-au-Prince. 

Many of those who took to the streets are calling for Haiti’s government to take action and crackdown on the rampant gang violence that has taken over the country. 

Haiti has been plagued with gang violence since President Jovenel Moise was assassinated last year, leaving a political vacuum and non-ending turf wars by gangs seeking to gain control of more territory. As a result, hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed and many others displaced. 

Additionally, Haitians have been struggling to find fuel in recent weeks, leaving many without a job. Two sources told Reuters that the country’s fuel stocks are running low because fuel importers are struggling to get paid for the subsidies that maintain fuel prices low on the island.

Inflation on the island has rapidly increased, causing many businesses have had to shut down. According to Haiti’s central bank governor, Jean Baden Dubois, the country’s economy could contract by 0.4% this year. 

"If I take the numbers from June 2022, inflation has reached 29%," Dubois said in a press conference, referring to annualized inflation. "It's the highest rate we've had in 10 years."

Many of the protesters are demanding that Prime Minister Ariel Henry step down from his position due to his inability to address these issues. Henry’s term as Prime Minister expired on February 7, but no date has been set for the next elections, creating a political vacuum and a power struggle in the country.

“Families don’t know what to do,” demonstrator Lionel Jean-Pierre said as the crowd around him chanted: “If Ariel doesn’t leave, we’re going to die!”

The demonstrations on the island also coincided with the 1791 slave uprising that triggered Haiti’s fight for independence from France in 1804.