PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti’s minister of justice warned political opposition activists on Friday against using violence to try to impose their will on peaceful citizens who wish to go about their business during street demonstrations in the Caribbean country over the past weeks.
Jean Renel Sanon condemned the latest violent anti-government protests organized on Wednesday, during which demonstrators attempted to burn down a gas station, threw rocks and broke car windshields, and attacked businesses and other individuals going about their daily activities.
“The ministry has noted that the movements organized by opposition leaders are becoming more and more violent,” said Sanon in a communiqué issued on Friday.
“The intolerant and anarchic behavior of the troublemakers is unacceptable,” Sanon explained.
The justice minister said, “Peaceful citizens, the entrepreneurs and small vendors who have been the victims cannot continue to be held hostage by the terror orchestrated in broad daylight by the enemies of democracy.”
Recently, the demonstrators , who wish to overthrow Haitian President Michel Martelly and his government, burned a government vehicle and destroyed scores of car windshields and windows.
Sanon called on those who have been the victims of the acts of violence to file complaints before relevant judicial authorities, so that perpetrators may be prosecuted, tried and sentenced in accordance with the law.
Opposition groups plan future demonstrations to call for the ouster of the Haitian leader, while an estimated crowd of tens of thousands followers gathered on Wednesday outside the presidential palace in the Champ de Mars area to voice support for Martelly’s administration.