More than 100 tourists stranded in Haiti will be sent home on a rescue flight, after their travels were disrupted by violent anti-government protests in the Caribbean country.
The 113 tourists, who purchased vacation packages through the Canadian airliner Air Transat, are "perfectly safe" at a beach resort, Christophe Hennebelle, vice president for human resources and corporate affairs at Air Transat, told CNN in an e-mail Friday.
Hennebelle said the road to reach the airport in the capital city Port-au-Prince is "blocked and unsafe," and that the tourists' evacuation is being orchestrated with the help of the Canadian government. So as not to compromise passengers' safety, details of the evacuation will be shared on Saturday, the tour company said.
For more than a week, protesters in Port-au-Prince have set cars ablaze and clashed with police, calling on Haitian President Jovenel Moise to resign over soaring inflation and allegations of corruption. Several people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and police, according to local media reports.
The protests began on February 7, the second anniversary of Moise's rule. He has so far rejected calls to step down, promising instead "a wide range of measures" for economic relief.
"I thank all friends in the international community, who are still standing by the Haitian people," Moise said in a speech on Thursday. "I want you to understand that am with you."
The Canadian government has advised citizens to avoid all travel to Haiti. On Friday, the US State Department warned Americans to defer any trips to the country in a "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory. It also called for US citizens in the country to leave as soon as possible, noting that commercial flights remain available and are operating normally.
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