PORT-AU-PRINCE — In the days before Haiti went into lockdown on Sept. 13, amidst daily protests against the rising cost of living, the scarcity of gas made for a sad sight at the pump as people scrambled to find fuel. And for at least two people, waiting to buy gas proved fatal.
All around the capital’s gas stations, hundreds of people — regular drivers, motorcycle taxi workers — arrived with jerrycan gas containers to refuel. None, sure to return home with filled containers. Often, fights and arguments broke out as customers piled on top of each other to be the first served, leaving some injured during these melees.
On Sept. 8, as a crowd waited for fuel at a service station in the Carrefour Petit-Four neighborhood, officials said, an armed individual shot at the group, killing two motorcycle taxi drivers. Other drivers ran to the police, who were stationed at Champ-de-Mars nearby, but received no help.
Misery is to rise in Haiti, along with the fuel price increases, residents say. In the wake of the resulting peyilòk protests, economists offered different ways the Haitian government can raise revenues they say won’t burden the masses as much as the gas hike. Among them is a national pro-poor budget and fiscal reforms to reduce corruption and waste.
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