19:46 GMT +323 March 2019
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    A police officer looks on as a crowd enters the Delimart supermarket complex, which had been burned during two days of protests against a planned hike in fuel prices in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, July 8, 2018.

    State Dept Evacuates 'Non-Emergency' Staffers From Haiti Amid Violent Protests

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The US State Department said it had ordered the withdrawal of "non-emergency" diplomatic personnel and their family members from Haiti amid violent unrest in the Caribbean nation.

    "There are currently widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. Due to these demonstrations, on February 14, 2019, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members", the State Department said in a statement.

    It also advised US nationals not to travel to the country due to crime and unrest there, saying that the US government’s ability to provide emergency services to US nationals in Haiti was limited.

    READ MORE: Haiti's President Accepts Gov't Resignation Amid Deadly Fuel Price Protests

    The statement mentioned frequent cases of protests, tire burning, road blockages and violent crime in Haiti. It noted that local police and medics lacked resources to effectively address the situation.

    Moreover, travelers are sometimes targeted right after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport, according to the State Department.

    The US diplomats, who are currently in Haiti, were warned against walking outside, using public transportation, driving outside Port-au-Prince at night, visiting public and commercial organizations and going to certain parts of the city without special security measures.

    READ MORE: MF Approves $41.6Mln in Financial Assistance for Haiti

    Haiti has been hit by a fresh wave of violent protests for over a week with at least reportedly 7 demonstrators killed. Protesters are calling on President Jovenel Moise to step down over allegations of misuse of billions of dollars in funds intended for social development programs.

    Back in summer, the nation was rocked by strong protests against the announced reduction of fuel subsidies and the increase in fuel prices as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a bid to cope with inflation and budget deficit.

    The violent protests prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant. In September, the upper house of the Haitian parliament approved the political program of the newly-appointed government led by Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant.

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    Tags:
    personnel, evacuation, violence, protests, U.S. Department of State, United States, Haiti
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