Soldier in Haiti Dies After Exchange of Gunfire With Protesting Police

Soldier in Haiti Dies After Exchange of Gunfire With Protesting Police

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The Haitian Ministry of Defense said Monday that a soldier had died from wounds suffered during an exchange of gunfire with police officers protesting outside army headquarters.

Another soldier was in stable condition with a bullet wound, according to the ministry.

Haitian police officers exchanged gunfire for hours Sunday with soldiers of the newly reconstituted Haitian Army outside the national palace, in an escalation of protests over police pay and working conditions.

At least three men were taken to a hospital near the shooting with wounds to the legs and feet that did not appear to be life-threatening.

Police protests began this month after a half-dozen officers were dismissed over their attempt to unionize. The demonstrations are not directly linked to anti-corruption protests that roiled Haiti for most of last year, but they draw on the same widespread dissatisfaction with the country’s shrinking economy and President Jovenel Moïse’s inability to improve the quality of life.

Haiti’s army had been disbanded in 1995 after the fall of a dictatorship that used soldiers to repress domestic opponents. Mr. Moïse re-formed the army in 2017, promising that it would patrol Haiti’s borders, assist in natural disasters and avoid domestic affairs.

“The Army High Command calls once more for the Haitian National Police to restore calm,” the Defense Ministry statement said.

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