Haiti cancels Carnival celebrations amid acts of violence

Haiti cancels Carnival celebrations amid acts of violence

Monday, February 24, 2020

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) – Haiti has cancelled Carnival celebrations here following violent clashes Sunday between members of the Haitian Armed Forces (FADH) and members of the National Police of Haiti (PNH) demanding that the authorities accept the formation of the Haitian National Police (SPNH) union.

The clashes also involved persons demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise and members of the Haitian Armed Forces.

The clashes took place in the Champ de Mars area, in the capital where gunfire was heard most of the day.

In a statement, the government said that it was condemning “these acts of violence and acts which violate freedom and democracy”.

It questioned the rationale behind the attacks aimed at driving the country into chaos, despite the commitments and decisions of the authorities to respond to the demands of the police officers.

“Why reject dialogue and the outstretched hand to solve the difficult problems facing the homeland, choose the path of anarchy preferably and offer the population more pain and tears that such a situation will not fail to provoke,” the statement noted.

It urged people to be vigilant “in these troubled moments of national life” noting that “in any case, it cannot allow a trivial exploitation of the demands of the PNH and justify these violent actions which expose the country as much, through an alleged rejection of carnival by a certain sector of the population.

“In order to avoid the planned bloodshed, the Government takes the opportunity to inform, the population and the carnivalists in particular, that it has been decided to cancel the carnival in Port-au-Prince and invites the Haitian people to keep calm pending the next announcements,” the statement added.

On Sunday, the situation escalated into a clash between plainclothes police claiming to be from the national police union, other uniformed police and FAD'H members.

Media and eyewitnesses reported that several shots and bursts of automatic weapons were heard in the Champs de Mars area, near the National Palace, and according to unofficial reports, at least 12 people were injured, including three police officers.

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