Several thousand people, many with their faces covered to conceal their identities, marched through Haiti’s capital on Monday demanding protection from violent gangs who are pillaging neighborhoods in the capital Port-au-Prince and beyond.
“We want security!” the crowd chanted as it marched for two hours from the troubled community of Carrefour-Feuilles to Champ de Mars in the downtown area and then to the prime minister's official residence, where police broke up the demonstration with tear gas.
Protesters responded by setting fire to tires and a state-owned vehicle.
Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, experts say gangs have seized control of up to 80% of Port-au-Prince, killing, raping and sowing terror in communities already suffering endemic poverty.
From January to March, more than 1,600 people have been reported killed, injured or kidnapped, a nearly 30% increase compared with the last three months of 2022, according to the newest U.N. report.
Last October, Haiti’s prime minister and other top-ranking officials requested the urgent deployment of an international to help quell gang violence.
In late July, Kenya offered a multinational police force, but the U.N. Security Council has yet to vote on a resolution to authorize a non-U.N. multinational mission.