There appeared to be some easing of tensions Monday in Haiti after an uprising against a government plan to increase fuel prices. Police moved in to calm several days of violent protests that included burning tires and looting stores.
Some government opposition members have called for a nationwide general strike and the resignation of the prime minister, the Miami Herald reported. Meanwhile, several American missionary groups remained stranded, as some airlines resumed flights in and out of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
A group from River Oaks Community Church in Goshen, Indiana was among those trying to return to the United States. On Sunday, the church posted a Facebook message seeking prayer for Haiti and the safe return of its members.
The U.S. embassy on Saturday strongly urged Americans visiting Haiti to avoid the unrest, which is centered in Port-au-Prince. They also advised confirming travel plans before venturing to the airport.
Violent protests erupted on Friday after the government announced a sharp hike in fuel prices. The price increase, which took effect at midnight, called for a 38 percent increase for gas, 47 percent for diesel and 51 percent for kerosene, according to the newspaper.
The uprising prompted Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant to announce a temporary suspension of the fuel hike on Saturday. However, the suspension failed to calm angry protesters, many still struggling to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake that destroyed the country’s already crumbling infrastructure.
The decision to raise fuel prices was part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. It’s part of several reform measures that Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest country, agreed to pursue to increase revenues and strengthen the economy.
Haiti would have access to $96 million of international donor funding by successfully implementing the reforms by the end of September.