Women in Haiti take to streets, protesting gang violence and political instability

PortauPrince, April 3 2021: Huge numbers of women protested in Haiti’s capital, denouncing gang violence and political instability they fear could result in dictatorship.

The protests, marking the national day for the Haitian women’s movement, the protesters deplored the rising power of gangs in recent months which has led to a spike in kidnappings for ransom in Port-au-Prince and other provinces.

Activists of all ages and classes protested against kidnapping, rapes and sexual assault.

April 3 is the national day of the Haitian women’s movement, marking the date in 1986 when 30,000 women marched to demand better inclusion in politics, two months after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has been in a months-long political crisis. There is dispute over President Jovenel Moise term remaining. The disagreement stems from the fact that Moise was elected in a vote that was cancelled for fraud, and then re-elected a year later. Without a parliament, the country fell further into crisis and distrust in 2020.

Participants said they are protesting against a president who will have total immunity during and after his mandate.

A protestor, Gaelle Bien Aime, said, “We are in the street to fight impunity — so many men, including in the spheres of power, who beat their wives, who rape,” the 30-year-old said. “I was not yet born in 1986 and I am very annoyed to have to be here 35 years later in the street fighting the same fights.”

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