Crisis in Haiti: policemen attacked the residence of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and prevented him from leaving the airport

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Military officers took to the streets of Port-au-Prince to protest the death of more than a dozen officers at the hands of armed groups this month. Henry returned to the Central American country today after participating in the CELAC summit in Buenos Aires

Crisis in Haiti: police attacked the residence of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and prevented him from leaving the airport

FILE PHOTO-Agents of the Haitian National Police deploy tear gas during a protest (REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo)

Dozens of armed police officers attacked the private residence of the Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, on Thursdaywithin the framework of a protest movement against the authorities' indifference to the death of more than a dozen agents at the hands of armed groups this month.

During the attack on the Henry's residence, located in the sector Delmas 60, in Port-au-Prince, there was material damage and loud shots were heard, while several vehicles were left with broken windows, according to local media reported.

Riots In Haiti

The Prime Minister who returned this Thursday from Argentina, where he participated in the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) on Tuesday, found that Haitian police officers forced their way into the country's main airport, and apparently could not leave the terminal.

“PM is still at the airport, he can't leave for now”, said the source, who asked not to be named.

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The Haitian National Police and the Prime Minister's Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Crisis in Haiti: police They attacked Prime Minister Ariel Henry's residence and prevented him from leaving the airport

“PM is still at the airport, he can't leave for now,” a source said

Video shot by local media showed a group of men, some wearing T-shirts with the word “Police” written on them, arguing heatedly with uniformed officers at the airport and then appearing to walk past them. the officers without a fight.

The tension in the metropolitan area of ​​Port-au-Prince and its surroundings is at its highest this Thursday, in which constant shooting, few hours after seven police officers were killed by armed groups in Savien, in the Haitian department of Artibonite, bringing to ten the number of officers killed violently in two weeks.

Riots In Haiti

Given the tense situation, some schools have sent their students home and the population tends to leave the streets of the capital, where police presence has been scant in recent days.

In 2022, at least 55 officers were killed in the country,in a context marked by the deterioration of the security climate and dominated by armed attacks, the multiplication of kidnappings, robberies and rapes.

Immersed for years in a sociopolitical crisis and economically, Haiti saw its situation worsen further after the assassination in July 2021 of then-President Jovenel Moïse.

Crisis in Haiti: policemen attacked Prime Minister Ariel Henry's residence and prevented him from leaving the airport

The prime minister plans to return this Argentina Thursday (REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian)

A video obtained by The Associated Press and recognized by police Thursday, probably recorded by gangs, showsthe naked and bloody bodies of six officers lying on the ground, with their weapons across their chests. The gang that killed them, known as Gan Grif, still has the bodies, police said.

Riots In Haiti

The deaths enraged members of< b> Fantom 509, an armed group of current and former police officers who have violently demanded better conditions for officers.

Dozens of these men marched through the city Thursday, many of themhooded along with police uniforms, bulletproof vests, and rifles and automatic weapons. They seized buses to block roads and set tires on fire throughout the city, leaving a column of smoke through the streets.

Crisis in Haiti: police attacked the residence of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and prevented him from leaving the airport

Bullet hits in a vehicle Police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023 (AP Photo/Megan Janetsky)

Many demanded tougher action against gangs and called for an end to the current Ariel government Henry, which many Haitians consider illegitimate.

“If they are killing policemen, as a citizen, what should I do?” a protester wearing a mask yelled into an Associated Press camera. “The police are second only to God and we are going to support them.”

A video recorded by local Haitian media shows empty streets and closed businesses on a key road in Port-au-Prince where the police passed by. rebel group.

In addition to the bodies exhibited by the gang, several officers were killed last week in a shootout with gangs in a neighborhood once considered relatively safe.

The Haitian National Police expressed its condolences to the families and colleagues of the murdered officers and said that he is “calling for peace and invites the police to unite to carry out an institutional response to the different criminal organizations that terrorize the Haitian people.”

The United Nations estimates that 60% of Port-au-Prince is controlled by gangs. On the streets of the capital, Haitians say it is more like 100%.

This week, the UN special envoy for Haiti urged the US and Canadian governments to lead an international armed force to help Haiti combat The gang. Meanwhile, the Haitian police are asking for more resources.

(With information from EFE, Reuters and AP)

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