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6 killed, 5 wounded in clashes during anti-corruption protests across Haiti

At least six people have been killed and five others wounded in clashes between police and anti-corruption protesters across Haiti, where anger is rife over the disappearance of billions of dollars linked to a public finance program.

Thousands of Haitians took to the streets in several cities of the country, demanding the trial of officials who they claim stole the $3.8 billion Haiti received as part of the regional Petrocaribe program.

More than 3,000 police officers had been deployed to the capital Port-au-Prince, port Cap-Haitien and other cities.

Scuffles broke out with riot police when protesters blocked streets in several areas, set fire to tires and hurled stones at security forces.

Security forces arrested 23 instigators of violence, according to reports.

Protesters, activists, and opposition party members walk past burning barricades during an anti-graft protest in the streets of Port-au-Prince, on November 18, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

This was the second major demonstration in recent months rocking the foundations of President Jovenel Moise’s administrations.

A probe by Haiti’s Senate has alleged embezzlement by at least 14 ex-officials, but no one has been charged.

“Where did the money go?” is the name of an anti-government campaign launched months ago in social media to mobilize the masses to exert pressure on the government.

The PetroCaribe program — initiated by late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, in 2005 — allowed Caribbean and Latin American countries, Haiti included, to acquire petroleum products at low price.

The program helped the countries pay the products’ costs over 25 years at a one-percent interest rate. It was designed to finance and promote social and economic projects in the struggling countries.

Critics of the Haitian government say the initiative was ruined by corruption and misappropriation.

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