Tuesday February 19, 2019
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MCD employees protest continues for 11th day

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New Delhi: MCD employees protest continues for the 11th day over the non-payment of salaries. The strike by municipal workers continued until Saturday as employees of Delhi’s civic bodies burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Hundreds of employees of the municipal corporations staged a noisy demonstration and dumped garbage at various places including the camp office of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in Khirchipur and Shyam Lal College in Burari.

The protestors staged a march and also burnt an effigy of Transport Minister Gopal Rai near his office at Babarput in east Delhi.

“We will continue to dump garbage on the streets of Delhi till our demands are met,” Sanjay Gehlot, president of the Mazdoor Vikas Sanyukta Morcha, told agency.

Gahlot said workers will visit Delhi High Court on Monday and apprise it of the whole issue.

United Front of MCD Employees president Rajesh Mishra said a section of doctors and engineers called off their strike but it will not affect their ongoing protest. “The strike is on,” he maintained.

“We will not call off our strike till our demands of reaching a permanent solution to the crisis and merger of municipal corporations are considered,” he added.

Employees of Delhi’s civic bodies have been protesting over the non-payment of salaries for the past few months and directing their ire at both the Delhi and central governments for the last 11 days.

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday announced a loan of Rs.300 crore to two municipal corporations for payment of salaries to striking workers, but they refused to heed to his appeal to return to work.

Earlier this week, the Kejriwal government had also announced Rs.551 crore to the North and East Delhi Municipal Corporations for paying salaries.(IANS)

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Haitians On Protest Despite President’s Assurance

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, protesters are burning tires and building makeshift barricades, which are blocking many roads.

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A demonstrator kicks a tear gas canister during clashes with Haitian police in Port-au-Prince, Feb. 15, 2019, on the ninth day of protests against Haitian President Jovenel Moise. VOA

Hundreds of Haitians protested in the streets of the capital, Port- au-Prince, for the ninth consecutive day Friday, despite the president’s assurances that he understands their pain and is working toward a solution.

“We are asking the international community to help us get rid of [President] Jovenel [Moise] because Jovenel is working for them,” a protester told VOA Creole. “Fellow citizens, please if you see Jovenel on the street, handcuff him and throw him in jail,” the young man added.

FILE - President Jovenel Moise, then the Haitian presidential candidate of PHTK Political Party, speaks during an interview with AFP in Port-au-Prince, Sept. 6, 2016.
President Jovenel Moise, then the Haitian presidential candidate of PHTK Political Party, speaks during an interview with AFP in Port-au-Prince, Sept. 6, 2016. VOA

Moise broke his weeklong silence with a national address Thursday night, which was broadcast nationwide and on Facebook. He sought to calm and reassure a tense and angry nation.

“I hear you,” Moise said, acknowledging criticism about his government’s ineffectiveness and lack of transparency. “I will never betray you. You are the reason I ran for president. I’m working for you.”

He also reminded the country’s most underprivileged citizens that like them, he, too, came from humble beginnings.

Moise announced that he has taken a series of measures to make life better for Haitians and has asked Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant, whom he described as an electoral rival, to communicate those measures and apply them immediately. He later tweeted that Ceant would announce the new economic measures Friday.

It is still unclear whether or when the prime minister will announce the measures, but in an interview with a local radio station Friday morning, Ceant said the president had pressured him to resign. Ceant said he refused.

A group of women and children walk to buy water in the neighborhood of Petion Ville, in the Haitian Capital Port-au-Prince, on Feb. 14, 2019.
A group of women and children walk to buy water in the neighborhood of Petion Ville, in the Haitian Capital Port-au-Prince, on Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, protesters are burning tires and building makeshift barricades, which are blocking many roads.

“We don’t need for the prime minister to resign,” a protester in his 20s told VOA Creole. “We need lower prices. This morning I went to buy a bag of rice — I’m a poor person — they were asking 350 dollars [Haitian Gourdes, the local currency, are equivalent to about U.S. $3.50]. So, president, I’m asking you to resign. You can go now.”

“Jovenel is adding fuel to the fire,” a protester in his 40s told VOA Creole. “It would have been better if he had never said anything.” The man decried the current living conditions where young people have died and residents are dealing with a water shortage.

“I’m out here [protesting] for the ninth time. I lost a lot of brothers and sisters during these protests,” another man said proudly. “The president humiliated [in his speech last night] by calling us drug dealers, while he sends kudos to the Americans. Mr. President, we are not drug dealers!”

The international community has acknowledged the people’s right to protest but deplored the violence and damage to property.

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement Friday reacting to the protests and the president’s speech.

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“The United States Government shares the desire of the Haitian people for a better future for Haiti,” it said. “We encourage all of Haiti’s lawfully elected representatives, and all Haitians who seek a peaceful political solution consistent with Haiti’s constitution to engage in an inclusive dialogue — without resorting to violent action.”

The statement also encouraged “sound economic policy measures” and “transparent resource management” as ways to improve living conditions. (VOA)