Fresh looting broke out on the streets of Haiti's capital today as protestors called for a two-day general strike despite the government's climbdown over controversial fuel price hikes.
Facing unrest that has now left at least three dead, leaders of the Caribbean country suspended the price spikes "until further notice" -- but the about-face has failed to quell the anger of residents.
In the heart of Port-au-Prince, AFP journalists saw shops ransacked as protestors, some armed with knives, were met by police who fired weapons into the air and detonated tear gas.
"If the president stays one more day, the game will take on a new appearance: we will cut off the roads and burn everything, because we have nothing else to lose," said one masked protestor.
Moise had urged demonstrators late yesterday to "go home," saying the price hike suspension had "corrected what had to be corrected." The televised speech disappointed much of the population and the political class: "We were expecting another speech, a serene analysis of the situation that has prevailed in the country in the last two days and caused so much loss of life and materials," lawmaker Jerry Tardieu told AFP.
The renewed violence follows two days of paralysis in the city, sparked Friday by a government announcement that gasoline prices would rise by 38 percent, diesel by 47 percent and kerosene by 51 percent starting this weekend.
In announcing the suspension of the price hikes, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant emphasized that "violence and democracy are fundamentally incompatible."
Even before the fuel price controversy, deputies had already begun a debate on his future, and Saturday's U-turn could lead to the government's fall. On Friday night, the bodyguard of an opposition-party politician died in an altercation with demonstrators in central Port-au-Prince as he attempted to get through a roadblock. His body was then burned in the road.
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