Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry
Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry -- pictured at a press conference in Port-au-Prince on January 6, 2023. Photo by: AFP/Richard Pierrin

Hundreds of Haitian protesters took to the streets on Monday, calling for the resignation of unelected Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, who were demonstrating against the administration.

The tear gas was fired after many protestors set car tires on fire, and the streets were filled with gray smoke.

One of the protestors, Dominique Thelemaque, said, "Henry has done absolutely nothing for the population; insecurity is everywhere, the roads are destroyed, and no one can get on with their daily lives," Reuters reported.

He added, "We are not here today to wage a war against Ariel Henry to replace him with someone else. We are here today to wage a war against the system."

Henry took over the office without elections after Haiti's last president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated in 2021. Since then, the country witnessed a rise in violent gangs. The two most powerful gangs in the country are called G9 and G-Pep.

Earlier this year, the head of Human Rights Watch revealed that around 300,000 people in the country have been internally displaced due to a surge in gang violence.

Two weeks back, Pope Francis requested the release of the hostages abducted while on a bus in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, including six nuns.

Aside from the pope, Bishop Pierre-André Dumas of Anse-à-Veau and Miragoâne in Haiti also condemned the kidnapping and called for an end to "deplorable and criminal practices" in the country.

Haiti has seen a surge in violent incidents in the last couple of months as many gangs compete for influence and try to exert pressure on the Prime Minister.

The current situation in the country is tense because a political agreement that strengthened Henry's authority is set to expire on Feb. 7. The power struggle between these gangs and the impending deadline for the political accord has contributed to the increase in violence.

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