Haitian leaders on Saturday pleaded for calm as violent protests over fuel price hikes entered a second day and airlines canceled flights to the Caribbean nation.
Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant announced the temporary suspension of double-digit government increases to prices for gasoline, diesel and kerosene on Saturday afternoon — just a day after the fuel price hike was announced.
Haitian President Jovenel Moise called on protesters late on Saturday to “go home.”
In an address broadcast on state television, Moise said he had “corrected what had to be corrected” following the about-face on the price increases.
“As soon as you speak, I listen. Because you started sending me this message last night, I received it and corrected what had to be corrected,” Moise said.
“To those watching me tonight, I ask you all: Go home,” he said, adding authorities had been directed to clean the streets.
However, as local television footage showed, the government’s decision to back down did not keep angry residents from taking to the streets, with some erecting flaming roadblocks, and attacking hotels and businesses.
US carriers American Airlines and JetBlue announced flight cancelations to Port-au-Prince, citing civil unrest, while the US embassy advised personnel and Americans in the country to shelter in place.
On Friday, the Haitian Commerce and Economic ministries announced that fuel price increases, including a 38 percent jump for gasoline and 47 percent for diesel, would take effect at midnight.
The now-suspended decision by the government was part of an agreement in February with the IMF, which requires Haiti to enact a range of austerity measures.
Just before the suspension was announced, the leader of Haiti’s lower house of parliament had threatened a government takeover if the fuel price increases were not reversed.
“If there is no response within two hours, the government will be considered as having resigned” and the legislature will take charge, Haitian Chamber of Deputies President Gary Bodeau said.
Additional reporting by AFP
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and