Police Riot Over Gangs Killing Officers

Demonstrators in Haiti go to prime minister's residence
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2023 4:10 PM CST
Police Riot Over Gangs Killing Officers
A police officer stands with his weapon drawn during a protest Thursday in Haiti.   (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Police became rioters in Haiti's capital, protesting government inaction after gangs killed their fellow officers. News reports said the demonstrators breached the gates of the prime minister's residence in Port-au-Prince on Thursday and tried to invade the airport, per the BBC. They shot into the air, blocked roads, set fires, damaged vehicles, and broke security cameras. Prime Minister Ariel Henry was not home when the officers arrived, per the Washington Post, and the protesters did not try to breach his living quarters.

Already this month, some 15 officers were killed over 15 days, reported the National Union of Haitian Police Officers, six of them Wednesday at a police station in Liancourt. A Haitian human rights group counts 78 police officers killed since Henry took office in 2021. Gangs now control at least 60% of the Port-au-Prince area, including roads into the capital. Outgunned, police have not been able to stop the gang violence. "Police officers are being hunted by the gangs and are the victims of the climate of insecurity," said Lionel Lazarre of the police union. Proposals by the US and Mexico to deal with the chaos include sending in a multinational UN peacekeeping force, per CBS News, but the Security Council has not endorsed that. (More Haiti stories.)

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