Haiti can be like a ticking time bomb. It just quietly ticks away, then one day it blows.
Yesterday while driving my daughter to school I came upon the start of a manifestation in St. Marc. Manifestations are protests about anything and everything. Often they involved large groups of very animated people, sometimes burning tires or even car hulks. The roads get blocked. Sometimes rocks get thrown.
Thankfully yesterdays demonstration was pretty tame and we had no problem getting through. It was the motorcycle taxi drivers who were up in arms because of new regulations and fees that are supposed to be enforced. For many the fees would be more than they could pay, making it impossible for them to operate. Anyone who has driven through St. Marc will know that the motorcycle taxis are like flies, and many have never had any formal training to become a taxi driver. Because of this, it can be a challenge to navigate a vehicle in St. Marc for fear of hitting or being hit by a taxi. It’s crazy. The new regulations would require licenses and training, not a bad thing. Though, it’s a lot all at once.
Later in the afternoon on the way to get Olivia another section of road was blocked, but again they were allowing vehicles to pass. On the way out it just happened that a road construction truck broke down right at the blockade, making more of a blockade.
Talking to the school director word on the street was that there had been manifestations all over town, with a report of police shooting in the air while having rocks thrown at them by protestors.
Last night two of our workers returned from doing follow up in the Artibonite, having gone right through St. Marc on the way. When we asked if they encountered any problems Fritzner told us that there were men with boards and nails who were swinging them at tires on motorcycles trying to get people to stop. Our workers were stopped and a guy reached over and grabbed Fritzners keys. He and Thony talked to them and told them that they had to realize that not everyone on a motorcycle in St. Marc lived in St. Marc, that some were going through, and that not everyone on a motorcycle was a taxi driver, that some were on their way to work etc. Eventually they got the keys back and went on their way. Fritzner and Thony said that on the way back they heard that 14 people were arrested because of the incidents yesterday.
Driving in this morning things were calm and quiet and there was no evidence of yesterdays activity. The ticking time bomb is at rest again.