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In pictures: Haiti anti-government protests

Protesters are angry at soaring inflation and demand an independent investigation over claims that officials and former ministers misappropriated development funds from an oil deal signed between Caribbean countries and Venezuela, the PetroCaribe.

The alleged theft amounts to $2bn (£1.55bn), according to a court report.

The demonstrators have demanded the resignation of President Jovenel Moise, in power since 2017, who has also been accused of involvement in irregularities. But last week he rejected calls for his resignation, saying he would not leave the country in the "hands of armed gangs and drug traffickers".

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and 60% of the population live on less than $2 (£1.56) a day, according to the World Bank.

The Caribbean nation was devastated by a powerful earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people. Then in 2016, Hurricane Michael hit, killing some 3,000 people and badly damaging the country's infrastructure. Thousands of residents were displaced.

A tire placed by a small group of demonstrators burns on a street in the commune of Petion Ville in the Haitan capital Port-au-Prince

In an address on Saturday, Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant announced measures including a 30% reduction in government's expenses and the removal of privileges - such as allowances for petrol, and telephones and trips abroad - for government officials.

He also vowed to continue with the investigation into the alleged irregularities involving PetroCaribe funds.

A child covers his face as he walks past a burning barricade during anti-government protests in Port-au-PrincePresentational white spaceThousands have joined the demonstrations that have plunged Haiti into political crisis and paralysed everyday life in the largest towns. New protests were expected this week and Mr Céant warned of the risk of a humanitarian crisis.

"The population suffers a lot, because blocked roads can't deliver water to drink, food, gasoline. It's almost impossible to have electricity."

A woman walks past a burning barricade during anti-government protests in Port-au-Prince

Since the protests broke out on 7 February, several foreign governments, including the US and Canada, have urged citizens to avoid travel to Haiti and ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47277534

ruby Posted on February 18, 2019 12:16

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