Protesters Attack Haiti’s Speaker of the Senate

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Protesters Attack Haiti’s Speaker of the Senate

Haitian Speaker of the Senate, Carl Murat Cantave, says he has been attacked by opposition linked supporters and several of his properties including his medical clinic in Gonaïves in northern Haiti had been burnt following the unsuccessful attempt to ratify Prime Minister Fritz William Michel on Monday.

He said the attackers were in the company of a Senator and that “they grabbed me by the collar and tried to steal my phone”.

Cantave said he was also deploring and denouncing the attacks on several of his properties, including the burning of his medical clinic in Gonaïves, by individuals who opposed the holding of the ratification session and who, according to him, were “paid to burn my clinic”.

While he did not name those involved in the act, he insisted that the perpetrators would “pay dearly”.

In addition to the arson attack, Cantave also reported that the premises of the building housing the political office of the President of the Senate were ransacked, furniture and equipment were thrown to the street before being burned.

The demonstrators also vandalized the premises of the Louise Gabrielle Foundation, which is owned by Cantave’s wife and the Office of the Departmental Delegation of Artibonite was also ransacked.

Since then, the National Police of Haiti (PNH) have deployed a protection force near his residence.

Meanwhile, there are also reports that many protestors in Pétion-ville, a suburb in the capital, hurled slogans critical of the government and blocked the Karibe Convention Center, where members of the government and ministers from the new cabinet were meeting.

The newly appointed Minister of Youth and Sports, Manouchka Néré, was among those assaulted as demonstrators unable to enter the facility, ransacked several companies, broke windshields, set two vehicles on fire, erected barricades of burning tyres and paralyzed traffic, while repeatedly confronting members of the PNH, who responded with tear gas in a bid to restore order.

The protestors also set fire to a branch of the Haitian Union Bank and looted and burnt the Propharma Pharmaceutical Agency, located on the upper floors of the building.

Last month, President Jovenel Moise had called on Parliament to approve the nomination and government of Prime Minister Michel, describing him as “a brilliant civil servant who has devoted his entire career to serving the people of Haiti”.

Michel, a former executive in the Ministry of Economy and Finance, became the fourth prime minister of this French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country since President Moise became the head of state in 2017.

Monday’s sitting of the Senate was adjourned without a new date being set for its resumption after a legislator fired gunshots to defend himself against demonstrators who had entered the legislative compound.

“I defended myself. Self-defense is a sacred right,” said Senator Jean-Marie Ralph Fethière.

A photojournalist with the Associated Press was among two people wounded when the legislator fired his gun in the yard of the Haitian Senate.