Protests in Haiti over PM's call for international armed forces

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By Euronews
A man walks past burning tires set up by protesters during a protest demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
A man walks past burning tires set up by protesters during a protest demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.   -   Copyright  Odelyn Joseph/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved

Thousands are protesting in Haiti’s capital after its prime minister Ariel Henry asked for the international community to deploy armed forces in the country.

The protests come after several weeks of violent demonstrations sparked by an announcement that fuel prices would increase.

"This request is an unconstitutional act; this is an act against the state,” said Josue Merilein, a local resident.

“It is an action against the Haitian people's demands, who want a free country where everyone can eat, have health care, and live like human beings."

Protesters started calling for the prime minister to resign last month after he announced that the government would no longer subsidise fuel.

Henry and 18 high-ranking officials requested from international partners “the immediate deployment of a specialised armed force, in sufficient quantity,” to stop the “criminal actions” of armed gangs across the country.

The United Nations Security Council said it was evaluating an immediate activation of foreign troops to help Haiti, according to AP.

Last month, one of Haiti’s most powerful gangs seized control of a key fuel terminal in the country’s capital.

Protesters have called the possible deployment of international armed forces "foreign occupation", and many people in the country are against the idea of UN peacekeepers in Haiti.

A previous deployment over a decade ago has been accused of sexual assault and sparked a cholera epidemic that killed around 10,000 people.

The country is also dealing with a new health crisis, as another cholera outbreak has already killed several people.

"We urgently appeal for funds from the international community to address the cholera outbreak, as well as other pressing humanitarian needs in the country,” said Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Additional sources • AP