Several hundred police and their supporters demonstrated Sunday in Haiti’s capital for better salaries for law enforcement, as anti-government marchers also took to the streets.
Separately a man was beaten to death and then burned by some demonstrators who claimed that he opened fire on a crowd of marchers demanding that President Jovenel Moise step down. With their faces hidden, several plainclothes police fired in the air near the anti-government protesters.
Several large bursts of gunfire from unidentified individuals were then heard just adjacent to the area where protesters were marching. Prior to the protests, police officers had complained at the headquarters of the Haitian National Police (PNH).
“Our wages are miserable. We don’t have insurance: we have an insurance card but at every hospital we go to, we have to pay,” a masked police officer who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals, told AFP.
As they have for two months, presidential detractors demanded that Moise resign; they were joined by some churchgoers on their way out of services.
Since coming to power in February 2017, Moise has had to face the anger of an opposition movement that refuses to recognize his victory in an election widely seen as dubious.
Anger mounted in late August due to a national fuel shortage, and protests turned violent. But even before this crisis erupted, Moise was accused of corruption.
An auditor’s’ court probing two billion dollars in aid from a Venezuelan oil fund found that companies run by Moise before he became president were “at the heart of an embezzlement scheme.”