Gangs And Police Clash Again In Haiti

Gangs that control much of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince launched an attack Monday, clashing with police in the city center.

Gunfire broke out in the area of Champ de Mars, a big public park near the National Palace, which is the old presidential residence, local people said.

Haiti has had no president since the assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021 and it has no sitting parliament. Its last election was in 2016.

It has been wracked for decades by poverty, natural disasters, political instability and gang violence.

Since late February, Haiti’s powerful gangs have teamed up as they attacked police stations, prisons, the airport and the sea port in a bid to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Unelected and unpopular, Henry announced March 11 he would step down to make way for a so-called transitional council.

But three weeks later the council has yet to be formed and installed amid disagreement among the political parties and other stakeholders due to name the next prime minister and because of doubts over the very legality of such a council.

In a statement Monday, Henry’s office said the council has not yet been formed because Haiti’s constitution does not allow for such a body.

Henry is seeking advice from CARICOM, the Caribbean regional body overseeing this urgent transition process, the statement said.

In the meantime gang violence continues and people are enduring a severe humanitarian crisis with shortages of food, medicine and other basics.