Violence erupts in Haiti during protests by police officers after gangs kill 6 cops
Published in News & Features
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Violence erupted again in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on Thursday when protesters claiming to be members of the police took to the streets after the killing of six cops by gang members.
The killing of six police officers in an armed attack against a police substation in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley sent parts of the country reeling Thursday as armed men claiming to be cops revolted in the streets, scouring the premises of Port-au-Prince’s international airport and the police headquarters searching for the country’s prime minister.
The demonstrations were tied to the arrival of Prime Minister Ariel Henry from Argentina, where he and a small delegation attended an international conference and Henry once more made a plea for foreign forces to assist his beleaguered government take on heavily armed gangs.
As Henry’s American Airlines flight out of Miami landed at Toussaint Louverture International Airport, billows of dark smoke from burning tires could be seen outside the windows. An angry mob of protesters claiming to be police officers, but armed and dressed in plain clothes, with their faces covered with scarves and ski masks, made their way in several areas of the airport.
Video shared on social media also showed passengers inside the airport terminal skirmishing while workers on the tarmac went running, seeking cover from the mob. At police headquarters shots were fired as some of the protesters breached the area.
The group made several attempts to breach the entrance to the airport. At a departure area they pulled down blue metal gates used to separate vehicles dropping off passengers, and at a separate VIP lounge they pushed their way through the fence before getting into a skirmish with other police officers trying to secure the lounge entrance.
As the violence unfolded Henry was elsewhere in the airport meeting with a visiting delegation, far out of harm’s way.
The source of the anger was the deaths of six police officers in the Artibonite Valley, when a police substation suffered three attacks on Thursday.
In an interview with radio station Magik 9, the police chief for the Artibonite region, an Bruce Myrtil, said that “this was an attack that happened on all fronts.”
“The first attack was at 7 a.m., the second at 10 a.m. and the third shortly before noon,” Myrtil said.
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