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Accused of killing journalist, Haiti police open probe

Journalists carry photojournalist Maxiben Lazarre onto a truck after he was shot dead while covering a protest by factory workers demanding higher salaries in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Men wearing police uniforms drove by the protest and fired into the crowd where Lazarre was covering the demonstration.

Journalists have photojournalist Maxiben Lazarre onto a truck soon after he was shot lifeless while covering a protest by manufacturing facility staff demanding higher salaries in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. Gentlemen donning law enforcement uniforms drove by the protest and fired into the group exactly where Lazarre was covering the demonstration.


The Haiti Countrywide Police pressure has started an inner investigation into allegations that officers shot and killed a community photojournalist and seriously hurt two others who have been covering a garment employees protest in the funds in excess of better wages on Wednesday.

Law enforcement spokesman Garry Desrosiers mentioned the internal investigation into the taking pictures that led to the dying of Maxiben Lazarre, who also went by Maxihen, will be performed by each the inspector general’s place of work, which investigates accusations in opposition to law enforcement officers, and the Central Directorate of the Judicial Law enforcement.

Witnesses are accusing Haitian law enforcement of firing the deadly shot that led to Lazarre’s death.

Lazarre, who worked for the on the internet media outlet Rois des infos, or Kings of Info, was killed when adult males putting on law enforcement uniforms drove by the protest and fired into the crowd of protesters. They have been traveling in a white, unmarked automobile with a “government service” license plate, reported Robest Dimanche, spokesman for an online journalists association, CMEL, who was at the protest. Two other journalists have been also injured as properly as a manufacturing unit employee, he reported.

“Everything unfolded right before my eyes,” said Dimanche, who mentioned that proper ahead of the shooting law enforcement had damaged up the protest by firing tear gas. “Of the three journalists who had been shot, a single died on the scene, Lazarre.”

On Friday, Lazarre’s household and Dimanche, speaking on behalf of the association, condemned the killing and demanded justice.

A Haitian photojournalist lies lifeless on the floor following he was shot although masking a protest by factory employees demanding larger salaries in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. The journalist, to begin with recognized as Maxihen Lazarre but whose very first title is Maxiben, was masking the demonstration when men donning law enforcement uniforms drove by the protest and fired into the group of protesters. Odelyn Joseph AP

Lazarre is the third journalist killed in Haiti in two months. In January, John Wesley Amady and Wilguens Louis-Saint have been fatally shot by suspected gang users even though they ended up reporting a tale on the country’s gang difficulties. The killing was quickly condemned by the worldwide watchdog team Committee to Secure Journalists.

Haiti has been viewing an enhance in the slaying of journalists, none of which have been solved. In 2018, photojournalist Vladjimir Legagneur went missing when functioning on an independent undertaking within the Port-au-Prince slum of Grand Ravine. The next 12 months radio journalists Pétion Rospide and Néhémie Joseph ended up killed. Very last June, Diego Charles, of Radio Eyesight 2000, was gunned down along with human rights advocate Antoinette “Netty” Duclaire.

“Every time a journalist is killed, the police says the exact same factor, ‘An investigation has been opened,’ “ Dimanche claimed. “Since Jean Dominique there has been an investigation opened and given that then, there has never ever been any development with the investigation. We have no selection but to set pressure … and question all journalists’ associations, community and intercontinental, to get a stance to close the impunity.”

Jean Dominique was a Haitian journalist, agronomist and human legal rights advocate in Haiti. His April 3, 2000, assassination continues to be unsolved, and has served as a image of the country’s ongoing dilemma bringing the killers of journalists to justice.

Factory workers operate from tear gasoline fired by police trying to disperse their protest for wage will increase in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022. It is the initially day of a 3-day strike organized by manufacturing facility personnel who also shut down an industrial park before this month to protest shell out. Odelyn Joseph AP

In a information on his Twitter account, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry explained he deplored Lazarre’s dying and condemned the violence. “I provide my sympathies to the family members of the deceased, as effectively as to the other victims of these brutal acts,” he wrote.

The incident was also condemned by the monitoring business of the Montana Accord, a group that seeks to just take demand of the place and lead a two-yr transition to elections. A tweet from the team referred to Lazarre’s death as “murder” and condemned “all acts of repression in opposition to workers.”

“The de facto power simply cannot continue on to make it possible for the police to shoot at Haitians like all of us who are proclaiming for a greater lifetime,” the tweet explained.

The protests for better wages by garment employees have been ongoing for several months. On Monday, the authorities announced a hike in the day by day bare minimum wage by as a lot as 54%.

The hike would just take the minimum amount income for manufacturing facility workers from $5 a day to just beneath $7.50 a day. The main union representing manufacturing facility workers has said the improve is not enough and has called for continued demonstrations. The unions are demanding a minimum amount of $15 a day.

On Thursday, factories all through Port-au-Prince shut down in protest of the violence that has accompanied the strike. Some manufacturing facility house owners say properties have been attacked with rocks, and that personnel who have refused to join the protests have been dragged from their doing work stations.

This tale was originally posted February 24, 2022 2:56 PM.

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Jacqueline Charles has reported on Haiti and the English-talking Caribbean for the Miami Herald for about a 10 years. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for her coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she was awarded a 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize — the most prestigious award for coverage of the Americas.