Tags: haiti | port au prince | protests | americans | hotel | fuel

Reports: 120 Americans Trapped in Haitian Hotel Amid Fuel Protests

Reports: 120 Americans Trapped in Haitian Hotel Amid Fuel Protests
Haitian people flee from police during a protest against the increase in fuel prices. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
 

By    |   Saturday, 07 July 2018 06:54 PM

As many as 120 American and 100 Haitian guests were trapped in a hotel in Port-au-Prince Saturday amid violent protests where as many as three people were killed over rising fuel prices, according to news reports.

CNN reported that the guests were in a Best Western Premiere hotel in P├ętion-Ville, one of the Haitian capital’s wealthiest neighborhoods, and Agence France-Presse disclosed that as many as five major airlines had canceled flights to the island.

The U.S. Embassy in Haiti said that no injuries to U.S. citizens had been reported.

"Things escalated pretty quickly," Stacy Librandi Bourne, an emergency medical professional from HERO Client Rescue who is at the hotel, told CNN.

Bourne said police prevented demonstrators from entering the hotel and that tourists, missionaries and children were among the guests.

"I think it's understandable sometimes when people have a difficult time affording an increase, but it sounds like the government is doing everything they can to compromise and try to get back and restore calm," she said.

"We're seeing a bit more calm now," Bourne added.

"There's still rioting, things like that going on, but I think it's possible that some peace might be restored because of the most-recent announcement by the prime minister, that he was going to delay things, the price on the gas."

Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant on Saturday announced the suspension of the price hike "until further notice."

The reversal came hours after Lafontant made an impassioned televised appeal for patience, and tried to convince people of the need to raise prices.

Port-au-Prince and nearby communities had stood paralyzed since Friday afternoon, with major routes blocked by barricades, some made of burning tires, and some protesters even calling for a revolution in the impoverished country.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement Saturday, saying that "we are aware that a Best Western Hotel was surrounded by demonstrators and vandalized.

"At this time, we have not received any reports of any U.S. citizens injured," the statement continued, advising Americans there and at the U.S. Embassy to shelter in place.

"Do not attempt to travel at this time," the agency said. "Avoid protests, any large gathering — and do not attempt to drive through roadblocks.

"If you encounter a roadblock, turn around and get to a safe area," the State Department said.

The demonstrations began after the Commerce Ministry and Economic Ministry issued a statement announcing an increase of 38 percent to 51 percent for gasoline, diesel and kerosene.

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As many as 120 American and 100 Haitian guests were trapped in a hotel in Port-au-Prince Saturday amid violent protests that killed as many as three people over rising fuel prices, according to news reports.
haiti, port au prince, protests, americans, hotel, fuel
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2018-54-07
Saturday, 07 July 2018 06:54 PM
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