Haiti: Protesters Rioted as Government Attempted to Raise Fuel Prices, 4 Dead, Americans Still Stranded

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Haiti: Riots erupted after the government attempted to raise fuel prices by 38% for gasoline, 47% on diesel and a 51% increase on kerosene. At least three people are dead. Protesters tried to set a hotel on fire that had 120 American guests. Multiple Christian youth groups from the US are stranded, while dozens more remained marooned at the airport, unable to return to their hotels or other accommodations due to the blockage of streets and lack of transportation. Looters pillaged, burned and vandalized shops in Haiti’s capital. Internet and telephone lines have been affected.

Looters pillaged, burned and vandalized shops in Haiti’s capital Sunday following two days of violent protests over the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices.

Journalists saw young men stripping shelves bare in some supermarkets that were charred from the protests. Several bodies lay among debris scattered in the streets.

With the situation still chaotic, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince on Sunday warned U.S. citizens to shelter in place. It noted that many airline flights had been cancelled and said, “The airport has limited food and water available.”

“Telecommunications services, including Internet and phone lines, have been affected throughout Haiti,” the embassy added. “It may be difficult to reach people through normal communication methods.”

American Airlines, which had canceled 10 flights since Saturday, said three of its planes had left Sunday from Port-au-Prince and the northern city of Cap-Haitien bound for Miami and New York. Dozens of people remained stranded at the airport in Port-au-Prince, unable to return to their hotels or other accommodations due to the blockage of streets and lack of transportation.

The cancellation of flights stranded church groups and volunteers from a number of U.S. states, including South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

Chapin United Methodist Church in South Carolina posted online that its mission team was safe but stranded. Marcy Kenny, assimilation minister for the church, told The State newspaper that the group hoped the unrest would abate enough for them to safely make it to the airport.

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