Police use teargas as demonstrations continue against budget proposals
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – Police used teargas to disperse hundreds of people demonstrating against the measures contained in the 2018 budget that has been presented to Parliament by President Jovenel Moise last month.
The Parliament has approved the fiscal package, but Moise hinted at the possibility of reviewing some of the measures as demonstrators took to the streets again on Saturday in Pétion-ville demanding his removal from office.
The demonstration planned by the political parties, Fanmi Lavalas, Pitit Desalin as well as other organisations and students attracted thousands of people and despite the presence members of the Body of Intervention and Maintenance of Order (CIMO), the protestors broke several storefronts and windshields of several vehicles.
Stones and bottles were also thrown at some buildings even as the security agents fired gunshots into the air in a bid to disperse the crowd.
The protesters also erected several barricades, blocking traffic and sporadic shooting was reported in the Juvénat neighbourhood, with media reports indicating that the damage “seemed considerable”.
The police had to use teargas to disperse the crowd with several reports of being injured and there were several arrests.
Commissioner Frantz Lerebours, spokesman for the Haitian National Police (PNH), was however, unable to give details.
Some of the demonstrators tried to reach the city centre but were met with a strong resistance from the CIMOs on the Champ de Mars.
The opposition parties condemned the violence saying that the demonstrations had been infiltrated by people who wanted to provoke troubles and accuse the opposition of disorder.
Last week, the Haitian Customs Association (ADH), gave the General Administration of Customs (AGD), of the Ministry of Economy an eight-day ultimatum to meet their demands or face work stoppage island-wide from Thursday.
Customs officers, whose salaries are GOURDES $17 000 (One Gourdes=US$0.01) after a nine-month training are demanding an 80 per cent wage increase.
In addition, customs officers are demanding special status because of the importance of their mission and responsibilities: fiscal, economic and security.
Meanwhile, the Council of Ministers last week adopted a preliminary draft law to amend article 149 of the Decree of September 29, 2005 on income tax.
President Moise has since announced he will convene an extraordinary session the Chamber of Deputies, once the draft bill has been ratified by the Senate. (CMC)