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23 Feb 2020 | 04:55 PM UTC

Haiti: Shots, tear gas fired during police protest in Port-au-Prince February 23 /update 1

Shots and tear gas fired during police protest in Port-au-Prince on February 23; heightened security presence and transportation disruptions to be expected over the coming hours

security
transportation
HTI

Event

Shots and tear gas were fired during a police protest in Port-au-Prince, near the presidential palace, on Sunday, February 23. It was not immediately confirmed who fired the shots or tear gas during the protest march from Delmas toward Champ de Mars, which was organized to demand better pay and working conditions amid Carnival celebrations. Also, a stage built by the Ministry of Defense for Carnival was set on fire by police union demonstrators and activists, according to local sources.

A heightened security presence and lingering transportation disruptions are to be expected in the affected area of Port-au-Prince over the coming hours. 

Context

Port-au-Prince's annual February Carnival celebrations have been some of the largest Mardi Gras festivities in the Caribbean and North America.

Haiti has faced numerous demonstrations in recent months calling for greater government transparency after several public officials, including President Jovenel Moïse, were implicated in a scandal related to the alleged misuse of PetroCaribe funds. Protests have segmented society and exacerbated an already unstable political situation.

Advice

Individuals in Port-au-Prince are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations, anticipate localized disruptions to transportation and business, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.

The security environment in Haiti remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.