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Violent Protests Continue In Haiti


In Haiti, violent protests over government corruption have left at least seven people dead and paralyzed the capital, Port-au-Prince. Yesterday, Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant announced emergency anti-corruption measures in hopes of diffusing the crisis.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Haiti reporting on the unrest, and he joins us now. Good morning.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what is the scene on the ground, Miguel?

MARQUEZ: Right now, it is quiet - much more quiet than we saw for the first nine days of this crisis. For the last 36 hours or so, people have been sort of getting back to the basics of life, looking for gas, looking for water, for food. Water, in particular, has been in very, very short supply, as has gasoline and kerosene, which they use to cook with - long lines throughout the capital.

The roads are a mess. They're still littered - the remnants of nine days of violence - you know, tire fires that were there and rocks and boulders scattered throughout. A bit treacherous getting around town right now, but much more calm. It seems most people are waiting to see what the government does before there may be another round of protests and possibly violence.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So the prime minister said he's cutting his budget by 30 percent and cutting perks for officials. This round is in response to what the people say is government corruption. Will it be enough to stem the protests?

MARQUEZ: I doubt it. What they want is the president to resign. They feel that the president, who spoke on Thursday night and talked generically about measures that the government would take in order to deal with corruption and deal with the equality in society here - the prime minister then last night tried to fill that up with some meat on those bones. But he seemed to fire a shot across the bow of the president himself in saying that they were going to look at corruption at every level of the government, seemingly including the president's office.

People here want him to resign because they feel - they believe - there was a government report last year that basically said billions of dollars have gone unaccounted for from a Venezuelan petrol subsidy program to help Haiti and countries like this, and there has been zero accountability for it. The president's own business is implicated in it, and there is no sense that any of those that are responsible are going to pay a price.

So I think there is an expectation that something more dramatic than the speech last night occur here in Haiti.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We have about 30 seconds left, but I know you've been out and about talking to people. What are regular Haitians saying?

MARQUEZ: They are fed up. It's not just - it's every level of society here. It's not only the poor Haitians, but the middle class as well. People who say, look; I've never come out - we usually complain about this on Twitter or on Facebook. We've never come out and protested like this. I have a good job, but now, enough is enough. We cannot take it anymore. There has to be a change.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: CNN reporter Miguel Marquez in Haiti, thank you so much.

MARQUEZ: You got it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.