April 21, 2019
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Tensions persist in Haiti after fifth day of anti-government protests

Port-au-Prince, Feb 11 (efe-epa).- Protests continued in Haiti for the fifth consecutive day on Monday as demonstrators demanded the resignation of the country's president, while the international community has called for dialogue to solve the political and economic crisis.

Despite a call for dialogue by the Core Group, made up of the deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General, the ambassadors of Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the US, France, the European Union and the special representative of the OAS, parts of the opposition have asked to continue with the protests against Jovenel Moise.

President Moise also called for dialogue on Feb. 9, which was rejected by the opposition.

Several Embassies have asked their citizens to limit their movements amid the violence.

The protests have all but paralyzed the capital, Port-au-Prince and other cities across the impoverished nation. At least seven people have died since Feb. 7 when the demonstrations started.

Protesters have attacked businesses and gas stations, and looted some food shops, despite the presence of police trying to control the situation.

"Today we are on the street because nobody listens to us. We do not have jobs, money or hope. I am looking for something and that is why I will take anything I can find," said Paul Baptise, a protester in Port-au-Prince.

One of the promoters of these protests is the opposition leader Andre Michel, who on Twitter again demanded the resignation of Moise, who, he said, "no longer has the legitimacy to remain in power."

"No one is above the will of the people. The Constitution is not above the will of the people. The people are sovereign. Moise must go and he will go," he said.

In a statement, the private sector expressed its discontent for what it considered a lack of leadership of the authorities in the face of the situation that the nation is going through and called the different sectors to meet urgently to find a way out.

Meanwhile, the country's communication minister, Eddy Jackson Alexis, denounced the violence on Monday and called for calm, and said the government was mobilizing to "maintain security."

"Violence and threat on the street do not have to continue like this. Justice and the police have received commands to restore order," he said, adding that "only with dialogue will we solve the problems."

Alexis pointed out that the government recognizes the right to protest but that it should be done "peacefully."

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, the Army announced the reinforcement of security on its border with Haiti, and some airlines have canceled flights to Port-au-Prince.

The demonstrations flared up after the government declared an economic emergency on Feb. 5, which involved reducing the cost of basic necessities or increasing access to credit for small businesses to try to alleviate the crisis.

The situation in Haiti has been worsened by a sharp depreciation of the gourde, the official currency, and by the electricity crisis resulting from the shortage of gasoline.

The country has also failed to approve its budget of $1.65 billion for this year. The budget was rejected last month by the Chamber of Deputies after arguing that this does not satisfy the chamber.

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