Protests outside U.S. embassy in Haiti lead to shutdown

Following President Trump's alleged disparaging reference to Haiti, U.S. embassy forced to close

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 23, 2018 9:49AM (EST)

 (AP/Evan Vucci/Dieu Nalio Chery/Salon)
(AP/Evan Vucci/Dieu Nalio Chery/Salon)

Haitian outrage over President Donald Trump's attitude toward their country was so intense that the US embassy in Port-au-Prince had to temporarily close on Monday.

More than 1,000 protesters marched toward the embassy to demonstrate against Trump, according to the Associated Press. They assembled in part to oppose Trump's allegedly disparaging comments about their nation, including telling lawmakers during an immigration reform meeting, "Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out." He also referred to the nations of Africa, from which a majority of Haitians are at least partially descended, as "shithole countries."

In addition to being incensed by Trump's reported racist remarks, the protesters were also expressing opposition to Trump's decision to end a program that offered temporary legal residency to roughly 60,000 Haitians in the United States and to ban visas for low-skilled laborers from the Caribbean nation.

The protesters were stopped from reaching the gates of the US embassy by Haitian police barricades. The police officers later fired rounds of tear gas when some of the protesters began pelting the embassy with rocks.

Although the embassy was closed on Monday, it was expected to reopen on Tuesday.

Trump's seeming hostility toward Haiti and the nations of Africa has also been met with outrage at home, including from many political figures who are descended from the countries that Trump brushed off as "shitholes."

"My mom was almost moved to tears to think that this country, which she was willing to risk her life to come to, the commander-in-chief doesn't seem to value the worth, the contribution of her folks like herself," Adem Bunkeddeko, a congressional candidate of Ugandan descent from New York's 9th district, told Salon last week.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Embassy Security Haiti Haiti Embassy Haiti Protests Shithole Countries