Protestors Demand Resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry

Protestors Demand Resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – Demonstrations against acting Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry are likely to continue across Haiti on Tuesday  as protestors call for his resignation.

On Monday, the demonstrators clashed with police as they demanded the resignation of Henry, who came to office following the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise at his private residence overlooking the capital.

Banks, schools and government agencies closed in Haiti’s northern and southern regions while protesters blocked main routes with blazing tires and paralyzed public transportation, according to local media reports.

In Hinche, a city in Haiti’s central region, protesters celebrated the arrival of heavily armed state environmental agents and their commander, Joseph Jean Baptiste, who demanded that Henry resign.

“I want Ariel to stand in front of my bullets, so they go through him,” the commander said as someone filmed him while the crowd cheered.

The Committed to Development (EDE) party has called for nationwide protests until Wednesday and other groups are likely to join the demonstrations and continue protests beyond that day.

Henry’s term ends on February 7, though he is unlikely to step down. The date is significant in Haiti since it marked the day that former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier fled for France, and Februray 7, 1991, marked the day that Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president, was sworn in.

The demonstrators warn that the protest  will cause disruptions to transport, business, schools, and government agencies, as well as possible shortages of basic goods, including food, water, and fuel.

But security officials fear that gatherings are likely to be most disruptive in southern municipalities, such as Jeremie, Les Cayes, Miragoane, and Grand-Goave, as well as Port-au-Prince, where the neighborhoods of Petionville and Delmas will likely see protests.

Security forces will likely be deployed to monitor and manage protests, though Haitian authorities are typically incapable of controlling large gatherings.

Serious clashes and violence involving security forces, protesters, and gangs are likely, and the possibility of violent attacks targeting police forces and political leaders cannot be ruled out, observers say.