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More anti-government protests expected across Haiti on Friday

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More anti-government protests expected across Haiti on Friday

haiti protests
Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery/AP

Anti-government protestors are expected to take to the streets of Port-au-Prince and other major cities across Haiti today.

Today’s protests are anticipated to be the largest since February 7, when the latest round of demonstrations began. Since then, thousands have participated in nationwide rallies, which have left at least 80 injured and 26 dead.

Calls for President Jovenel Moise’s resignation continue to grow, given Haiti’s deteriorating economy and allegations that the president misused state funds. Indeed, inflation hit 15% in December, and the Haitian gourde lost a fifth of its value in 2018. Meanwhile, a public report released in October detailed years of corruption and no-bid contracts through which private corporations profited from a Caribbean petroleum agreement called PetroCaribe.

A week after the February 7 protests, Haitian President Jovenel Moise addressed the nation and defied calls to resign, saying he would not hand the nation over to “drug traffickers”, whom he alleges his administration is effectively combatting. Mr Moise has insinuated that his resignation would create a dangerous power vacuum, emboldening criminal groups.

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Protests today are expected to be intense, and clashes with local authorities are likely. However, unless the violence meets or supersedes the level of intensity experienced in early February, it is unlikely the president will step down or offer concessions.

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