Tue. Feb 18th, 2020

Protesters occupy the Senate of Haiti to block the new Government

A group of protesters related to the opposition of Haiti occupied the headquarters of the Senate on Wednesday and managed to boycott the session in which the ratification of the new prime minister, Fritz William Michel, was going to vote.

Protesters remained inside the Senate until night to prevent the holding of the session, which is of great importance to the president, Jovenel Moise, since the country has been without an effective government for six months.

The group acceded to the legislative headquarters taking advantage of the fact that the session was public and, before several journalists, they went up to the Senate stand to protest against the new Government and against the appointment of Michel.

After the riots, the Senate postponed the "sine die" session, according to the spokesman for the head of the president of the legislative body, Carl Murat Cantave, in his official Twitter account.

There were also violent protests and clashes between protesters and the Police outside the Parliament.

A group of opposition activists set fire to a bus of the National Police, which was completely charred in a field near the Parliament, according to an Efe journalist.

After the fire, the police arrested several protesters and used tear gas to try to disperse the dozens of people who were concentrating in the place to protest against the holding of the session of the Upper House.

Given the events experienced today, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Gary Bodeau, warned that this situation may jeopardize the continuity of the existence of Parliament.

"Parliament is digging its own grave, these are the same mistakes that led to the dissolution of the Haitian Armed Forces (in 1995). Whatever their interests, Haitian senators must live up to the dimension of their mission "Bodeau said on his Twitter account.

The session scheduled for Wednesday in the Senate would serve to ratify the new prime minister and approve his government program.

Michel was appointed prime minister on July 22 by the country's president, Jovenel Moise, and was ratified by the Chamber of Deputies on September 3, in a session that also tried to be boycotted by the opposition.

On that occasion, several opposition deputies destroyed chairs and tables of the legislature, forcing the start of the session six hours late.

To exercise the position effectively, the new prime minister needs to be ratified by both Chambers.

Haiti has not had an effective government since last March, when Parliament ceased the then Prime Minister, Jean Henry Ceant, in a motion of censure.

Ceant's successor, Jean-Michel Lapin, failed to even present his policy to Parliament, due to strong opposition pressures and several boycott attempts similar to those of today.

Due to the institutional paralysis, the country has not approved this year's budgets and the acting Executive is limited to take economic measures to deal with the economic crisis.

The political crisis worsened in July 2018, when protests broke out in reaction to corruption scandals that have splashed several members of the last governments that have been leading the country.

On August 22, the Chamber of Deputies tried to promote a motion to open a political trial against the president, Jovenel Moise, which was based on suspicions that the president himself has appropriated Petrocaribe program funds, by the that Venezuela offered oil at subsidized prices.

However, the Chamber of Deputies, with a government majority, rejected the motion that could have cost Moise the charge.

. (tagsToTranslate) Protesters (t) Senate (t) Haiti (t) block (t) Government

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