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Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has made a public plea for calm and unity following a wave of violent protests demanding his resignation.
Despite Henry’s call for collaboration to address Haiti’s challenges, including escalating gang violence and worsening poverty, his remarks have not quelled the public’s dissatisfaction. “I think the time has arrived for all to put our heads together to save Haiti, to do things another way in our country,” Henry stated, emphasizing the need for a collective effort to navigate the nation’s crises without providing specific details on his plans.
Henry’s leadership has been under scrutiny, especially since the expiration of the legislature’s last senators in January 2023, leaving Haiti without a functioning parliament. His tenure, which began after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021 with international backing, was marked by missed deadlines for holding elections, most recently failing to transition power by February 7, as agreed in December 2022.
Despite the challenges, Henry has committed to conducting general elections once the country’s security situation improves, including efforts to deploy a United Nations-backed Kenyan police force to combat gang activity.
Amidst ongoing protests calling for his departure, Henry aims to establish a national unity government while dealing with internal conflicts, such as a recent shootout in Port-au-Prince between national police and armed agents from an environmental agency. The incident, resulting in the death of five environmental agents, revealed tensions within the country’s security forces. Furthermore, Henry faces opposition from figures like former coup leader Guy Philippe, who is rallying for a “revolution” against the government.