Haitians march in defense of constitution as it turns 34

Countless numbers of Haitians took to the streets in the cash and numerous cities once…

Countless numbers of Haitians took to the streets in the cash and numerous cities once again Sunday, this time to defend their country’s structure and reject Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s proposed referendum to introduce a new magna carta.

With a hefty law enforcement presence stationed all through the protest route in Port-au-Prince, protesters demanded respect for the current structure and yelled “Down with dictatorship” as militants burned tires and tore down a short while ago mounted billboards advertising the forthcoming constitutional referendum scheduled for June 27 forward of legislative, community and presidential elections scheduled for the slide.

GettyImages-1231992713
Haitians show in the course of a protest to denounce the draft constitutional referendum carried by the President Jovenel Moise on March 28, 2021 in Port-au-Prince. VALERIE BAERISWYL AFP by using Getty Pictures

Moïse has unveiled various proposed variations in a draft structure to overhaul the country’s Constitution that, between other items, restructures the governing administration and provides increased powers to the presidency. On the other hand, the proposal will come amid growing unrest and distrust of Moïse by many Haitians, and calls from the United States for him to end his rule by decree by holding legislative elections to restore parliament.

Marching by the avenue to the beat of a Carnival band, protesters waved miniature Haitian flags whilst singing in Creole, “No, no, we will not go. No, no, we will not go. We will not go to elections until eventually Jovenel goes to prison.”

Protesters also ongoing their calls for Moïse’s departure, insisting that his presidency finished past thirty day period — he says he nonetheless has a yr remaining — even though expressing anger above corruption, kidnappings, growing inflation and what lots of deem as interference by the worldwide neighborhood that assist him. Holding up hand-written indications decrying the United States and the United Nations, some protesters went as far as contacting on Russia for help.

“No to dictatorship, stay democracy, stay the Constitution,” a thinned-out group yelled following arriving at the Constitutional Plaza on the Champ de Mars at the conclusion of the four-hour march.

Structured by reps of Protestant churches, civil culture and opposition political functions, Sunday’s demonstration was the initial of two back again-to-again marches to mark the 34th anniversary of the constitution. Written immediately after the tumble of the 29-calendar year Duvalier family members dictatorship in 1986, the Constitution was overwhelmingly permitted a yr later on on March 29, 1987.

GettyImages-1231992486
Haitians exhibit throughout a protest to denounce the draft constitutional referendum carried by the President Jovenel Moise on March 28, 2021 in Port-au-Prince. VALERIE BAERISWYL AFP through Getty Photographs

The Constitution now supplies for a host of particular liberties like the proper to protest and the defense of human legal rights. But the doc is also stuffed with constraints, like the prohibition in opposition to a referendum, to prevent the rise of any potential dictatorship. Moïse and many others have claimed those people steps have turn out to be obstructions to superior governance in an impoverished Haiti and make for a pretty difficult magna carta.

In his speeches, Moïse has regularly pointed out the shortcomings of the Constitution and explained most Haitians favor a new doc. The situation say students and legal professionals is not whether or not adjustments really should or should really not be manufactured to the Haitian Constitution, but how. They accuse the president of unilaterally and illegally seeking to change the Structure, which calls for any modifications to go through parliament.

“When he was sworn-in, he said he would regard the structure. Now what do we see? You see him heading towards the constitution, stating he is likely to do a referendum, which the 1987 constitution forbids,” said Reynold Georges, a well known lawyer who after served as a authorized adviser to the president who joined Sunday’s protest.

Georges, who is also a single the original signers of the structure, claimed all those opposing Moïse’s anti-constitutional initiatives to give Haiti a new constitution have no alternative but “to consider to the streets..and say to Jovenel, ‘We do not agree, and we will hardly ever agree.”

Even though most of the protest happened peacefully, a clash did erupt in between some protesters and law enforcement on the Champ de Mars when rocks started off getting thrown at police and a single of their bases. Law enforcement in convert responded by firing tear gasoline, and afterwards issued a assertion deploring the protesters’ violent act.

Profile Image of Jacqueline Charles

Jacqueline Charles has reported on Haiti and the English-talking Caribbean for the Miami Herald for about a decade. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for her coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she was awarded a 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize — the most prestigious award for coverage of the Americas.