Thousands of people moved to the streets of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, Thursday to join in a nonviolent March for Life in honour of International Human Rights Day.
Protesters marched against abduction, rape and murder of countless human rights crimes they say keep happening daily with impunity.
“On International Human Rights Day, we want to provide a message to Jovenel Moise (the president of Haiti) that our constitution guarantees our freedom of interpretation, our right to demand state accountability, the right to demand our rights to be safeguarded,” a demonstrator told VOA as he explained why he decided to join in the march.
Haiti has seen a spike in crimes and gang-related crimes that have terrorized citizens of all social groups living the capital.
Haitian Students March to Demand Justice for Slain High School Student. Many filled rows of capital in honour of Evelyne Sincere, who was reportedly raped and beaten before being killed by her captors
“We consider the kidnappings to be state crimes,” added a protester. “We say this because it’s ridiculous how this kidnapping model has invaded the whole country.”
A young man draped in red and black, former shades of the Haitian flag, was visibly angry.
On November 26, Moise announced a decree that set a National Agency for Investigations (ANI) and spelt out stiff penalties for crimes against public security. A guilty verdict makes it mandatory a jail sentence of between 31 and 50 years and a fine of between 2 and 200 million Haitian gourdes (over $28,600).
Among crimes now forbidden is the burning of tires on the nation’s streets. Demonstrators ignored it and ran about setting fire to tires along the protest route.
Tires were burnt in the middle of the road in defiance of a presidential decree which forbids such claims, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 10, 2020.