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Haiti under state of emergency as leaders gather for crisis talks amid gang takeover

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Haiti: Hundreds of inmates escape after armed gangs storm prison

Caribbean leaders are meeting in Jamaica on Monday to discuss the ongoing state of emergency in Haiti, where gangs have taken over most of the country’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, and have forced Prime Minister Ariel Henry out of the country.

Mr Henry is currently in Puerto Rico and has been barred from returning to his home country. A growing number of officials in Haiti are calling for his resignation. According to the Associated Press, the prime minister has rejected the calls. Patrick Boivert, a finance minister, is currently serving as the country’s acting prime minister.

Earlier this month, gangs stormed some of the country’s prisons and set at least 4,000 inmates free, leading to violence and chaos. The gangs also burned police stations and closed the main international airports.

The country then declared a state of emergency. It’s not clear if Mr Henry will attend the meeting on Monday. It was organised by  Caricom, a regional trade bloc that has pressed for a transitional government in the country for months.

Mr Henry has served as the country’s prime minister since 1987.

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US forces deployed to protect US embassy in Haiti

Over the weekend, US military officials said they had flown in forces to Haiti to up security at the country’s Port-Au-Prince embassy. Authorities were careful to mention that no residents of the country were on the aircraft, amid rumours that senior Haitian officials might be attempting to flee the country as attacks worsen.

The aircraft landed at the embassy compound, meaning that helicopters were involved in the operation.

“This airlift of personnel into and out of the Embassy is consistent with our standard practice for Embassy security augmentation worldwide, and no Haitians were on board the military aircraft,” according to a statement released by the military. The military had previously ordered the departure of nonessential staff and all family members in July, according to the Associated Press.

Michelle Del Rey11 March 2024 18:03

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In photos: Haiti’s ongoing state of emergency

Workers put down a fire set at an office of Haiti’s power company during a protest to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, March 1, 2024

(AP)

Residents flee their homes during clashes between police and gang member at the Portail neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

(AP)

An injured journalist is helped after he was reportedly hit by a tear gas canister fired by police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 9, 2024. Sporadic gunfire rang out in Port-au-Prince late March 8

(AFP via Getty Images)

A woman with a gunshot wound is transported by two men on a motorcycle as Haiti remains in state of emergency due to the violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 9, 2024

(REUTERS)

Members of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, USGPN, set up a security perimeter around one of the three downtown stations after police fought off an attack by gangs the day before, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, March 9, 2024

(AP)

People walk near the cars consumed by a fire, as Haiti remains in the state of emergency due to the violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 9, 2024

(REUTERS)

Michelle Del Rey11 March 2024 18:00

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Haiti’s crisis is prompting thousands of residents to flee to the Dominican Republic

Fifteen thousand people have been displaced in Haiti since the end of last month, when the gang attacks began, according to Le Monde. This has led to some of the country’s residents attempting to cross into neighbouring Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Despite the ongoing crisis, border officials in the Dominican Republic have been filmed deporting some of the residents back into Haiti, according to Al Jazeera.

Last year, the Dominican Republic closed its border with the country over the construction of a canal on the Massacre River, which lies in between the two countries. In October, the Dominican Republic partially reopened the border but maintained a ban on issuing visas to Haitian migrants.

Diplomatic tensions continue. After the gang attacks, Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry was denied entry into the Dominican Republic, forcing him to take shelter in nearby Puerto Rico.

Michelle Del Rey11 March 2024 17:41

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Antony Blinken to attend meeting in Jamaica regarding Haiti crisis

Global leaders, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are expected to attend a meeting on Monday in Jamaica about Haiti’s future as it remains in a state of emergency following an attempted gang takeover.

Read more about the ongoing conflict here:

Michelle Del Rey11 March 2024 17:13

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