US Embassy Under Threat Amidst Protests In Haiti
On July 6th, 2018, violent protests arose on the streets of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, after the Haitian government tried to raise fuel prices.
The proposal was to raise the price of gasoline by 38%, diesel prices by 47%, and kerosene by 51%, according to various media outlets, to balance their budget. The poverty-stricken people of Haiti didn’t stand for the idea and began to take to the streets, at first in protest, then in a full-scale riot in the streets. It is reported by Voice of America that four people have died since then and makeshift roadblocks were being put up around the capital. To try and quell the violence, Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant announced a temporary stop to the price increases on July 8th, 2018.
The US embassy in Haiti feared for the safety of their personnel amidst the riots. It instructed all staff to shelter in place. When it first broke out, US embassy staff requested additional US Marines and State Department Security, as reported by CNN.
A squad element of around 13 US Marines from the Marine Security Augmentation Unit were deployed and are in place at the embassy. There were also an unknown number of non-uniformed security personnel sent to the embassy as well.
An anonymous State Department official said that the safety of Americans is their priority. The official said, “Local law enforcement and U.S. embassy security authorities will take appropriate measures to safeguard personnel and visitors.” The State Department also issued a notice on Monday to not travel to Haiti, its travel advisory for the country was raised to Level 4: Do Not Travel.
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