The Canadian government is warning citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Haiti following days of violent protests in the country’s capital.
Looters pillaged, burned and vandalized shops in Port-au-Prince on Sunday following two days of violent protests over the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices by up to 51 per cent.
“We recommend to all Canadians in Haiti to shelter in safe place and to avoid travelling during this time,” the government advised.
The Canadian embassy was forced to close Monday as a result of the ongoing violence. 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.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a statement Sunday, calling for calm in Haiti’s capital.
“Canada is concerned with the ongoing violence and civil unrest in Haiti. We call for calm and respect for the rule of law by all, to ensure the safety and well-being of those affected by the violence,” the minister said. “Canadians stand with the people of Haiti during this difficult time and we offer our deepest condolences to the victims of the violence.”
The U.S. State Department said Americans in Port-au-Prince and throughout Haiti “should shelter in place.”
“Do not travel to the airport unless you confirmed your flight is departing,” the department said in a statement.
Almost a dozen flights were cancelled Sunday, stranding travellers at the airport.
“Flights are cancelled today and the airport has limited food and water available,” the U.S. State Department said. “Telecommunications services, including Internet and phone lines, have been affected throughout Haiti. It may be difficult to reach people through normal communication methods.”
On Saturday, the Haitian government announced it won’t go ahead with the plan to raise fuel prices.