Mass Mobilizations Repudiate Moïse Government and Referendum on Constitution
people undertook two days of mass
mobilizations across Haiti on March 28 and 29, as well as amongst the
diaspora abroad. Their actions are based on
the fundamental demand that the Haitian people must be able to exercise
their right to decide their own future, within which the people are
demanding an end to foreign interference and the
removal of the illegitimate regime of de facto
Jovenel Moïse who remains in power with the backing of the
and other countries. Besides these demands, the
two days of protest specifically denounced the plans of the de
facto Moïse regime for a referendum aimed at
amending the 1987 Constitution.
Gérald Bataille, one of the initiators of the March 28
action, expressed alarm over the situation in the country. "The
homeland is in danger. We are under the stranglehold of
dictatorship, persecution and insecurity. We're being run by an illegal
government. This president's mandate ended on February 7. That's why
we're in the streets. To cry out in distress and
anger," he told Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste.
that Haitians can govern themselves and that no problem facing the
country is going to be resolved with Jovenel
Moïse in power. "Dialogue is the starting point for all
However, no dialogue is possible with this man [Jovenel
The protestors expressed their demands for
better living conditions,
security and respect for human rights across the country, and denounced
the climate of criminality in the country,
fuelled by the federation of armed gangs known as G9 and the inability
of law enforcement to keep them in check.
Nouvelliste spoke with a woman in her forties during the
March 28 protest in Port-au-Prince, who denounced the Moïse
"calamitous" management. "The situation
has deteriorated with Jovenel Moïse in power. Schools can no
function as before. We're no longer able to move around freely. My sons
are forced to return to the provinces because
of the insecurity. I can no longer carry out my activities at the
Croix-des-Bossales market because of the shootings," she complained.
Another protestor told Le Nouvelliste, "We
don't have a
constitutional problem in the country. This referendum is a strategy
used by the PHTK [Tet Kale Haitian Party] to
renew itself and stay in power. It's a waste of time. The people will
and must oppose this gruesome project. We have other more urgent
problems such as unemployment, insecurity, the
high cost of living. We must know how to choose the priorities."
Various political figures took part in the March 28 protests.
presidential candidate Jean-Charles Moïse asked Haitians to
1987 Constitution. "This Constitution is
34-years old. We cannot allow a dictator to change it. We're against
this referendum. We therefore ask the people to mobilize against this
dictatorial project, against this dictator and against
the foreigners holding the country hostage," he shouted out.
Cazir, General Secretary of the Movement of the
Third Voice Party, decried the situation in the country. "My presence
in the streets today is to denounce and
vigorously protest against insecurity, political persecution and
intimidation, corruption, impunity and multiple cases of violation of
the Constitution by an illegitimate power acting in
complete illegality. For me, marching peacefully today expresses my
rejection of Jovenel Moïse's dictatorial plan to impose a
on us through an unconstitutional referendum,
without any broad consensus within the country's forces," he said.
Maryse Narcisse, spokesperson for the Fanmi Lavalas party,
told Le Nouvelliste that President Moïse
has no legitimacy to change the Constitution. "He's a de facto
president. He has no right to call a referendum to change the
Constitution," she declared, while calling for intensifying the
mobilization against Moïse.
marked the 34th anniversary of the 1987 Constitution, and
protestors remained on the streets. Some brought copies of the
Constitution with them as a sign of their
commitment to defend it. "Down with a phony referendum. Down with a
fake constitution," they chanted. They were met with police using tear
gas and rubber bullets to disperse them in
the Champ de Mars area of Port-au-Prince.
was held at the entrance to the communal market of Jacmel
(the main city of the southeast department of Haiti), to demand respect
for the Constitution."The Organization of
American States (OAS) and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti
(BINUH) = [Haiti's] operating system. Haiti will not return to
dictatorship. No to insecurity," were among the
messages on the banners at the sit-in.
protesters said they will shut down the country if the de
facto regime proceeds with its plans for a new Constitution
that it has unilaterally drafted.
This article was published in
Volume 51 Number 4 - April 4, 2021