Protesters denouncing corruption blocked roads and paralyzed much of Haiti’s capital Sunday as they demanded the removal of President Jovenel Moise, while police reported two people killed and five injured.
Demonstrators burned tires and threw stones during the march in Port-au-Prince, where the scent of burning rubber filled the air. Many stores and gas stations were closed and travel between some cities was impeded as protesters blocked roads with cars, stones and other large objects.
Police erected barricades near the presidential palace and fired tear gas to drive away demonstrators who tried to breach them.
Police spokesman Michael-Ange Jeunes said gunshots caused the two deaths and wounded four people. He said a police officer was injured by a thrown rock.
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There was no information on who fired the shots.
Louis-Jeunes said protesters set fire to two police cars and two buildings. He said 12 people had been arrested.
Similar protests were held in the Haitian cities of Jacmel, Cap-Haitien, Saint-Marc and Gonaives. Demonstrators came from a wide cross section of society, including political parties, religious groups and community organizations.
Protesters were demanding further investigation into the fate of funds that resulted from subsidized oil shipments from Venezuela under the Petrocaribe program. A Senate investigation recently determined at least 14 former government officials allegedly misused $3.8 billion under the administration of former President Michel Martelly.
Venezuela’s collapsing economy has forced the South American nation to halt or drastically curtail Petrocaribe shipments, leading to problems for power generation. Many Haitians now receive electricity for only a few hours a day.