Members of Haitian community occupy Justin Trudeau’s office in Montreal

Protesters demand Canada stop backing repressive government in Port-au-Prince
Solidarité Québec-Haïti #Petrochallenge 2019
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Today Justin Trudeau’s office in the Montreal riding of Papineau was occupied by members of the local Haitian community, demanding a change in Canada’s policy towards the government of Haiti’s Jovenel Moïse.

“Promises are being made and we want to hear from Trudeau that they will no longer support this corrupt, illegitimate government, and continue to allow, to let people die in Haiti,” Frantz André told Ricochet by phone, right after the nearly two-hour protest and occupation had concluded.

“We occupied Trudeau’s campaign office in response to the killings and repression by the current Haitian government,” said André, referring to police use of tear gas and live ammunition against a growing mass movement in Haiti demanding Moïse’s ouster.

Solidarité Québec-Haïti #Petrochallenge 2019

The Montreal office occupation coincided with a day of mass protest in Haiti marking the Sep. 30 anniversary of the 1991 coup d’etat that overthrew the country’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Although Aristide was later restored to power and then elected again, his government was again overthrown in 2004, this time in a coup backed by the U.S., France, and Canada.

“The 2004 coup was largely organized here in Canada, by Liberal government ministers like Denis Paradis and others,” said André. “Canadian forces helped secure the airport in Port-au-Prince on Feb. 29, 2004, right before U.S. Special Forces arrived to take Aristide out of the country.”

In a press release from supporters of the office occupation, Marie Dimanche of Solidarité Québec-Haïti #PetroChallenge 2019 singled out the U.S., France, and Canada for backing Moïse, whose government has been besieged by protests amid growing corruption scandals and deteriorating conditions, including electricity blackouts across the country.

“Justin Trudeau’s government has provided financial, policing and diplomatic support to the criminal president. The only reason Jovenel Moïse remains president is because of Washington, Ottawa and Paris. It’s past time Justin Trudeau withdrew Canadian backing of a corrupt president Haitians overwhelmingly reject.”

The protesters who occupied Trudeau’s office also drew attention to the plight of Haitian asylum seekers.

“We’ve been asking the Canadian government to put a moratorium on deportations,” said André, criticizing the Liberals for maintaining the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S. and the Trump administration for targeting Haitian refugees.

André told Ricochet that the office occupation ended “in good faith” after a representative of Trudeau promised to get a formal reply to the protesters’ demands by Tuesday.

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