The Gravity of Futility

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Hundreds of people protested across Haiti this week demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, because of the years-long political and economic crises that have led to a devastating security situation, the Associated Press reported.

Banks, schools and government buildings closed across the Caribbean island, while demonstrators blocked main roads and paralyzed public transport.

Among those protesting were politicians and heavily armed agents from the state’s environmental department – the latter have come under government scrutiny following recent clashes with police in the country’s north, the newswire wrote separately.

Henry assumed power shortly after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021. The ensuing power vacuum has resulted in the rise of violent gangs that have taken control of neighborhoods and terrorized locals, and halted the movement of goods and services.

As police struggle to fight off gangs, which control a large swathe of the capital, citizens have been living with a spate of killings, sexual violence and kidnappings, Reuters noted.

Around 300,000 people have been internally displaced because of skirmishes between police, vigilantes and criminal groups, according to Human Rights Watch.

The United Nations warned that more than 50 percent of Haiti’s population is facing starvation because the conflict is preventing food and aid from moving into the country.

The demonstrations are expected to end Wednesday, Feb. 7 which protesters have set as the deadline for Henry to step down.

This date holds historical significance, marking the departure of former autocrat Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986 and the inauguration of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 1991.

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