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  • Hundreds of people protest the budget for next year in Port-au-Prince.

    Hundreds of people protest the budget for next year in Port-au-Prince. | Photo: Twitter / @jdanielsenat

Published 12 September 2017

Protesters argue the new budget will hurt the country's most disadvantaged. 

Thousands of people have gathered in the streets of Haiti's capital  Port-au-Prince to protest against a controversial budget bill that will affect the most vulnerable people of the island.

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The protest erupted Monday and continued on till Tuesday.

The police violently clashed with the protesters, using tear gas and rubber bullets to stop them from reaching the national palace as planned, reported Vant Bef Info.

Various organizations argue that the new budget favors the elite at the expense of the country's most disadvantaged.

After Monday's protest, the organizations pushed for further demonstrations in a bid to pressure the administration to modify the bill.

The bill on the 2017-2018 budget, introduced by the recently-election administration of Moise Lafontant, was passed in the lower chamber on Saturday with 78 votes in favor, five abstentions and eight against.

It was passed in Senate two days earlier, with 18 votes in favor, two abstentions and one vote against, according to Alter Presse.

The house of representatives only modified one of the controversial articles, Article 17, which implemented higher taxes on Haitian citizens living abroad.

The bill comes as the island recovers from Hurricane Irma which hit the island on Sept. 7, killing one person and leaving 17 injured. About 8,000 houses have been affected and 6,500 people remain in temporary shelters out of the 12,000 people evacuated

According to the 2017 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, Haiti is the third-most vulnerable country in the world.

Despite the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew last year, the government only allocated about 0.5 percent of this year’s budget to the Ministry of the Environment — despite promising to support local communities and sustainable agriculture.

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