October 11, 2019 / 8:17 PM / 8 days ago

Journalist's killing fuels ire of Haiti protesters

By Andre Paultre and Andres Martinez Casares

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The killing of a journalist who had closely covered Haiti’s political and economic crisis fueled protesters’ anger on Friday as they marched by the thousands on the home of President Jovenel Moise to press their calls for his resignation.

Nehemie Joseph was found dead in his car with several gunshot wounds to the head late on Thursday, according to his media outlet Radio Mega.

Violent crime is rife in Haiti, and the circumstances behind Joseph’s killing were not immediately known.

He had complained publicly last month of threats from politicians close to the government over his work, but Haiti’s police and government had no immediate comment on the killing.

The country’s online media association said Joseph was the third journalist to have been killed or “disappeared” since Moise became president 2-1/2 years ago.

Protests over fuel shortages, galloping inflation and allegations of corruption by public officials have rocked Haiti for the past four weeks.

At least 17 people have been killed and 189 injured during the anti-government demonstrations, according to Haiti’s National Network for the Defense of Human Rights, and schools and businesses have had to close.

Local media and the opposition reported the death on Friday of a 16-year-old in a protest in the town of Saint-Marc, just north of Port-au-Prince.

Protesters in the capital, meanwhile, were marching toward the wealthy Petionville district. Their aim was to reach the home of Moise, who has been implicated in allegations of corruption and embezzlement of public funds.

The embattled president has denied any wrongdoing.

Some of the protesters burned tires in the streets while others chanted “Out with Jovenel” in creole. Sound trucks blasted music with anti-government lyrics.

“We are in misery and we are starving,” said one protester, Claude Jean. “We cannot stand it anymore.”

“We ask (Moise) to resign so that we have a new Haiti ... because we suffer too much in this country.”

Moise this week announced the formation of a commission to find a way of lifting the poorest country in the Americas out of its current crisis, but government critics said it was too late for dialogue and he must resign. (Reporting by Andre Paultre and Andres Martinez Casares in Port-au-Prince Writing by Sarah Marsh in Havana; Editing by Tom Brown)

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