PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – The Director General of the National Police of Haiti (PNH), Michel-Ange Gédéon, Friday praised law enforcement officials for showing restraint during protest demonstrations across Haiti on Thursday that left at least four people dead and several others wounded.
“Several officers were victims of malicious individuals who, having infiltrated the demonstration, wanted to create panic and chaos by throwing stones and firing for no apparent reason,” Gédéon, said in a statement.
He said the police had been able to “show restraint…particularly in Mirebalais where the PNH had nine wounded in its ranks,” adding “the High Command is proud of their behavior and encourages them to control their emotions so they do not give in to provocation”.
The PNH said it also wanted to extend sympathies to persons who “were victims of malicious individuals who, having infiltrated the demonstration, wanted to create panic and chaos by throwing stones and firing for no apparent reason.”
On Thursday, thousands turned out in support of calls by the opposition parties here demanding the removal of President Jovenel Moise, jobs, corruption and the trial of those implicated in the ongoing investigation into the use of the funds under the PetroCaribe scheme through which Ven4ezuela had been providing oil to Haiti under preferential terms.
30th anniversary of end of Duvalier regime
The demonstration also coincided with the 30th anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of the Duvalier regimes and paralyzed most of the country.
But there were violent clashes with police who used tear gas and repeatedly fired gunshots into the air to disperse demonstrators. Protestors also burnt vehicles and looted several businesses.
The PNH deputy spokesman, Gary Desrosiers, on Thursday night reported that two people had been killed and at least 15 police officers were injured. But the figures rose on Friday as the authorities were able to give a better assessment of the situation.
They said that 20 demonstrators were injured and that four people had been killed in Mirebalais, 60 kilometers north east of the capital.