Demonstrators have taken to the streets of Haiti Monday to demand Prime Minister Ariel Henry agrees to hold discussions regarding a possible solution to the country's critical situation.
The protesters want Henry to resign amid uncontrollable street violence so that a new government can be formed. They set up barricades of burning tires and blocked streets in the Petion Ville area, southeast of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.
According to reports, gunshots were heard in other neighborhoods, while students in the Camp-Perrin region also demanded the reconstruction of schools destroyed by the earthquake of August 14 last year.
Political and social organizations also mobilized on this day to uphold the Montana agreement by groups of civil society and the Haitian diaspora to help establish a new government in Haiti, which has been going through a deep political crisis following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
“The implementation of the agreement of August 30, 2021 has paved the way, the time has come to find a compromise with all the other important actors to get the country out of the impasse in this construction of the national consensus, essential for the lasting resolution of this serious and dangerous crisis facing the nation,” a document submitted to Henry read.
“We remain at your entire disposal for a meeting as soon as possible, with a view to finding together a solution to this deep and multidimensional crisis that has lasted too long. Haiti, our country, expects nothing less than that,” it went on.
The opposing political coalition has chosen Fritz Alphonse Jean as president and Steven Benoît as prime minister to take over for a transition period, as Henry's mandate expired.
He has been acting as Prime Minister on an appointment signed by Moïse in one of his last decisions before being killed and the opposition claims his time in office whould be over.
But Henry showed no sign of wanting to step down and delivered a message to the nation which lasted 18 minutes, during which he insisted his authority had been disregarded by those who Jan. 30 appointed former Central Bank Governor Fritz Alphonse Jean as interim president.
“No one has the authority or the right to meet in a hotel or abroad to decide in a small committee who will be president or prime minister. This is all a distraction,” Henry said as he insisted progress was being made to hold presidential elections. He also vowed to prosecute as terrorists those who rely on gangs to try to seize power through violence.
Senate Speaker Joseph Lambert, broadcast a recorded speech, in which he defended that Henry's legitimacy expired Monday, coinciding with what would have been the end of Moïse's term and accused Henry of being the main obstacle to national dialogue.
The streets of Port-au-Prince were nearly empty amid growing violence. “For a long time there are people who think that they can seize power with violence. For days there have been men who decide to perpetrate terrorist acts by shooting peaceful citizens,” Henry said.