Five people die in confrontations with police during protests in Haiti

Clashes between police and environmental protection agents have resulted in the deaths of five armed agents near Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, amid violent protests calling for the removal of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, paralyzing the country.

Since Monday, Haiti has been in a state of unrest, with thousands of people demanding Henry’s resignation in accordance with a political agreement made in 2022.

A police source reported that the five agents of the National Agency for Protected Areas (BSAP), an armed government bureau in open rebellion, were shot on Wednesday after refusing to surrender their weapons and firing at police. Three other agency members were arrested.

According to a December 2022 agreement following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, Henry was supposed to hold elections and then transfer power to newly elected officials by February 7, 2024. However, Henry has remained in power and intends to form a government of national unity, according to an aide.

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, has been in turmoil for years, with armed gangs seizing control of parts of the country and causing widespread violence, resulting in a devastated economy and public health system. The country has not held elections since 2016, and the presidency remains vacant.

The protests have been organized by several opposition parties and have been joined by employees of the environmental agency. On Tuesday, a police station in the northeastern province of Ouanaminthe was attacked, and major roads and schools have been closed across the country since Monday.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, announced on Wednesday that it would be reinforcing its borders due to the violence.

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