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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

Looting follows violent fuel protests in Haitian capital

Three reported dead; police chief in Port-au-Prince orders crackdown on 'bandits'

Motorcyclists ride past a burnt car in a street of Port-au-Prince. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Motorcyclists ride past a burnt car in a street of Port-au-Prince. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Looters pillaged, burnt and vandalised shops in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on Sunday following two days of violent protests over the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices.

Young men stripped shelves bare in some supermarkets that were charred from the protests. Several bodies lay among debris scattered in the streets.

With the situation still chaotic, the US embassy in Port-au-Prince on Sunday warned American citizens to take shelter. It noted that many airline flights had been cancelled and said “the airport has limited food and water available”.

“Telecommunications services, including internet and phone lines, have been affected throughout Haiti,” the embassy said. “It may be difficult to reach people through normal communication methods.”

The cancellation of flights stranded church groups and volunteers from a number of US states, including South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

Chapin United Methodist Church in South Carolina posted online that its mission team was safe but stranded. Marcy Kenny, assimilation minister for the church, told The State newspaper that the group hoped the unrest would abate enough for them to safely make it to the airport.

A North Carolina doctor and his son were part of another medical mission group that was unable to leave. Shelley Collins told WRAL-TV that her husband, James, and their son made it to an airport but could not fly out.

Police director-general Michel-Ange Gedeon ordered officers to crack down on what he called “bandits who disturb the peace and security of the country.”

At least three people were killed in protests on Friday, and police said the bodies of four people were found on Sunday in the streets of the Delmas district, although they did not say if that was related to the protests.

The government on Saturday scrapped plans to raise fuel prices to 38 per cent to 51 per cent.