Hundreds of demonstrators against violence and for democracy in Haiti

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Several hundred women demonstrated on Saturday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for the national day of the Haitian women’s movement, on the occasion of which the demonstrators notably denounced gang violence and wanted to defend democracy, in the face of a power they accuse of imposing a new “dictatorship”.

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“The women who have been kidnapped are raped and sexually assaulted, so today we must put at the center of the debate, beyond the question of kidnappings, the impact of the (security) situation specifically on women”, pleaded activist Pascale Solages at the start of the demonstration.

Hundreds of demonstrators against violence and for democracy in Haiti

The growing grip of gangs on the territory has been revealed in recent months through an upsurge in kidnappings for ransom in Port-au-Prince and in the provinces.

April 3 was designated the national day of the Haitian women’s movement to mark the march in which 30,000 women participated on April 3, 1986, in order to demand better inclusion in political life, two months after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship. .

On Saturday, the procession was made up of several generations of activists when political protests in Haiti usually bring together a majority of young men.

Hundreds of demonstrators against violence and for democracy in Haiti

“What we were saying in 1986 is that democracy cannot be built without women or to their detriment: it is important to remember these slogans”, testified at the start of Danièle Magloire, figure of Haitian feminist activism.

Haiti is plunged into a deep political crisis and distrust of power increased on February 7.

On this pivotal date, the opposition and part of civil society announced that they no longer recognize Jovenel Moïse as the legitimate president of the country. He believes that his mandate will end on February 7, 2022.

In this unstable political context, Mr. Moïse decided to organize a constitutional referendum in June.

“They talk to us about a referendum, but we do not need this new constitution where they sprinkle two, three cosmetic measures while all the power will be concentrated in the hands of the executive, with a president who will have total immunity during and after her mandate: that is not possible, ”protests Gaëlle Bien Aimé in the procession.

“We are in the street because there is impunity: so many men, including in the spheres of power, who beat their wives, who rape,” denounces the 30-year-old protester.

“I was not born in 1986 and I am very annoyed to be obliged, 35 years later, to be in the street for the same fights”, she regrets.