A protest group more than 1,000 strong has marched into the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince to combat the government’s plans to clear out poor neighborhoods. With some of the protestors threatening to burn down affluent neighborhoods in the area, police have taken action to try to break up the group with tear gas.
Haiti’s government claims that the neighborhoods are located on instable hillsides, and are in direct danger from landslides. Meanwhile, the residents of these places say they cannot afford to make anywhere else their home. The government eviction plan is part of a project to protect citizens from natural disasters like floods.
According to Pierre Andre Gedon, an official within the country’s environmental ministry, the government plans build channels and replant trees in the hillside region to redirect flood waters that plague the city during the rainy season.
In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, housing continues to be an issue for the citizens of Port-au-Prince. Minister for Human Rights Rose-Anne August has said the government would provide new homes for the displaced people. “We can’t allow people to endanger their lives in slums that can collapse any moment,” she said.
Still, the protesters are not confident in their government’s plan. One of the protestors expressed his doubts to a local news agency. “These decisions are always made against the poor; the rich have huge homes that aren’t affected,” he said.