Thousands of protesters across Haiti have demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
The protest started hours before the United Nations Security Council held a split vote on Monday over sending an international force to Haiti to help with deteriorating security and a surge in cholera after powerful gangs took over the main port and blocked fuel deliveries.
The government had been awaiting a response to Henry’s recent request for the international community to help set up a “specialised armed force” to quell the violence, which has worsened in the power vacuum created by the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
The United States and Mexico said on Monday they are preparing another UN resolution that would authorise “an international assistance mission” to help improve security in crisis-racked Haiti so that humanitarian aid desperately needed by millions of people can be delivered.
Petrol stations remain closed, hospitals have slashed services and businesses, including banks and supermarkets, have cut their hours as everyone across the country runs out of fuel.
The situation has been worsened by a recent cholera outbreak, with hundreds hospitalised and dozens dead amid a scarcity of potable water and other basic supplies.
The demonstrations came on the day the country commemorated the death of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a slave who became the leader of the world’s first Black republic.
During Monday’s protest, demonstrators hailed Dessalines, who was assassinated in 1806, as they rejected the potential deployment of foreign troops.
Early on Monday, before protesters took over the streets of Port-au-Prince, Ariel Henry took part in a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the death of the revolutionary leader, in a rare public appearance and surrounded by heavy security.