Haitians continue to mobilize against Jovenel Moïse’s dictatorship

According to the article 134-2 of the Haitian Constitution of 1987, Jovenel Moïse’s presidential term ended on February 7, however, he has refused to leave power and has unleashed brutal police repression against protesters

February 15, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
On February 14, thousands of Haitians carried out a new mobilization in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, to demand that Jovenel Moïse respect the Constitution, step down and transfer power to the new transitional government. Photo: Haiti Info Project

On February 14, a new massive mobilization was carried out in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, in rejection of the illegitimate government of the de-facto president Jovenel Moïse. Under the banner of “March against Dictatorship”, thousands of citizens, students and workers, hit the streets of the capital to demand that Moïse respect the Constitution, step down and transfer power to the new transitional government. The demonstration was also joined by members of various civil society organizations, opposition leaders and former parliamentarians.

The protesters peacefully marched from different parts of the capital, joined at the airport crossroads in Delmas and continued marching onto the Delmas 60 road to return to the capital. However, at the Delmas 60 road, officials of the Haitian National Police (PNH) began repressing the pro-democracy protest with tear gas.

The PNH agents even fired live bullets against the demonstrators in the town of Pétion-Ville, near Delmas 60. In the incidents of police brutality, at least one person died and two others were injured with gunshot wounds.

Additionally, journalists, who were recording these instances of repression, were attacked with rubber pellets by the police. At least three journalists suffered painful injuries after being hit by the pellets.

The call for the mobilization was given by the opposition on social networks as a part of the ongoing struggle against the US and EU backed president Moïse, who is clinging to power unconstitutionally.

According to the article 134-2 of the Haitian Constitution of 1987, which provides for an early start of a new presidential term if there were irregularities in the election process, Moïse’s presidential term ended last week, on February 7. However, he refused to leave power, insisted on staying in office until February 7, 2022, claiming that he assumed power on February 7, 2017 to serve a five-year term, so he must remain in power for another year.

Read more: Political crisis deepens in Haiti as Jovenel Moïse refuses to transfer power

Meanwhile, the opposition political parties argued that Moïse’s term had ended on February 7, 2021, as the article 134-2 of the Constitution was applicable to his government because there were irregularities in the October 2015 elections, which Moïse won and were annulled due to allegations of fraud and were repeated in November 2016.

Last week, on February 8, Haitian opposition appointed Supreme Court Judge Joseph Mécène Jean-Louis as the interim president of the Caribbean country. Jean-Louis’s transitional government, who has the support of the country’s civil society organizations, will administer the country for the next two years and organize elections for the next government.

Nevertheless, Moïse alleged that the opposition was organizing a “coup” against him, ordered the arrests of a score of people and unleashed violent police repression against protesters.

Since January 10, thousands of citizens have been demonstrating across the country against Moïse’s decision to hold presidential and legislative elections on September 19 this year as part of an attempt to extend his term of office until 2022. They are also rejecting the regime’s decision to hold a referendum, on April 25, to replace the current constitution, which is the main achievement of the democratic movement of 1986, with a new one that provides for the return to a presidential regime.

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