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Looting follows violent fuel protests in Haitian capital

UPDATED: Sun., July 8, 2018

People loot a Delimart store that was burned during two days of protests against a planned hike in fuel prices in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press)
People loot a Delimart store that was burned during two days of protests against a planned hike in fuel prices in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (Dieu Nalio Chery / Associated Press)
Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – 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 canceled 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.”

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.

A North Carolina doctor and his son were part of another medical mission group that was unable to leave. Shelley Collins told WRAL-TV that her husband, James, and their son made it to an airport but could not fly out.

Police Director-General Michel-Ange Gedeon ordered officers to crack down on what he called “bandits who disturb the peace and security of the country.”

At least three people were killed in protests Friday, and police said the bodies of four people were found Sunday in the streets of the Delmas district, though they didn’t say if that was related to the protests.

The government on Saturday scrapped plans to raise fuel prices to 38 percent to 51 percent.

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