Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry,calls for calm as violent protests grow


Haiti’s leader, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, went on the radio on Thursday to ask Haitians to come together to help the country.

Mr Henry spoke to the whole country because lots of people were protesting and asking him to leave his job.

Haiti has had a lot of problems with gangs fighting for a long time.

In the latest event, police shot and killed five armed members of a group that was supposed to be protecting the environment. Some people think the group has turned into a military-like group.

Tensions were increasing in Haiti before 7 February, the day when new presidents usually take office.

Haiti does not have a president since Jovenel Moïse was killed by Colombian soldiers in July 2021.

Mr Henry became Mr. Moïse’s prime minister only one day before the former president was killed by gunfire. He took office two weeks after Mr Moïse was killed.

He has been in charge of the country for a while and keeps saying he will finally hold the elections that have been postponed for a long time.

In December 2022, he made an agreement with political parties and community groups to have elections in 2023. The new government would then be ready to start on 7 February 2024.

But in 2023, there were no elections because Mr. Henry said that the increasing gang violence made it difficult to have a fair election.

Haiti has not had any elected government officials since January 2023 because they have failed to hold presidential and legislative elections.

People are upset about the lack of leadership in politics and the high levels of violence. This has caused protests because almost 314,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.

Gangs are controlling the country. We are not able to eat. One person told the news that they can’t send their kids to school.

Another person protesting said to AFP, “this Wednesday is a very important day”. “Today is the day that Ariel Henry has to go away from his job. ”

The situation got worse when Guy Philippe, a former police chief who helped remove President Bertrand Aristide 20 years ago, came back.

Philippe was sent back to Haiti in November from the United States. He had been in prison there because he admitted to taking bribes to guard drug shipments.

Ever since he came back, he has been making videos on social media asking people to fight against Mr Henry.

On Tuesday, Philippe was seen in the main city, Port-au-Prince, greeting his fans. Later, he talked on a live radio show and told listeners that the fight is just starting.

The situation got worse as police faced armed members of Haiti’s Security Brigade for Protected Areas and shot five of them dead.

Some people say that some members of BSAP are friends with Philippe and the group has been accused of becoming more like a military group than a group that protects the environment.

Mr Henry tried to control the brigade’s power by firing the department head in charge of the group, but that just made the members even angrier.

He asked the United Nations to send soldiers to Haiti to stop the gangs that control a big part of the country. Only Kenya has said they will send officers so far.

Kenya’s assistance is uncertain because a court stopped the deployment.


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