Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Widespread riots in Haiti over fuel prices

Americans trapped in Haiti hotel amid rioting Haiti suspends fuel price hike after protesters riot
Melinda Barton | 10 July, 2018, 13:45

Fresh looting broke out on the streets of Haiti's capital Sunday, despite calls for calm after two days of deadly protests over ultimately suspended fuel price hikes.

The U.S. Embassy in Haiti has warned Americans to "shelter in place" amid violent protests that have rocked the nation over the weekend. "All other Embassy personnel are still under a Shelter in Place order", the U.S. State Department said on Sunday, July 8, via its official Haitian Embassy website.

"Due to continuing demonstrations, roadblocks, and violence across Port-au-Prince, the Embassy is prohibiting all non-emergency travel into Haiti by its employees". It noted that many flights were cancelled and said, "The airport has limited food and water available".

"Telecommunication services, including internet and phone lines, have been affected throughout Haiti".

Airlines including Air France and American Airlines cancelled several Sunday morning flights, with additional cancellations possible into the afternoon over staffing shortages. "It may be hard to reach people through normal communication methods".

My Life Speaks shared an additional update on Sunday, stating mission staff from both churches remain safe in Neply and the organization is working to make arrangements to return to the United States in the next few days. It's "a little bit more calm now", she said. "Our hearts are just broken for the people out there and we're just thankful for our group, which has a lot of love and hope and a desire to help out however they can". Shelley Collins told WRAL-TV that her husband, James, and their son made it to an airport but can't fly out.

Protesters move tires to barricade a street in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-Ville on July 7, 2018, to protest against the increase in fuel prices.

The group from Woodland Community Church includes about 18 teens, plus ministers and a handful of parents, said Jill Kramer, whose 15-year-old daughter is on the trip.

Opposition groups said they expected more protests throughout the country on Saturday.

On Saturday, about 120 Americans and 100 Haitians were forced to hold up in the Oasis hotel after demonstrators tried to set the building alight and rush past security.

"The mission team, the directors they all decided it just wasn't worth it to go farther", Kramer told the newspaper.