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Some embassies in Haitian capital close citing unrest

Several countries said this week they were temporarily shutting their embassies in Haiti’s capital, amid unrest over fuel price hikes.

That move has sparked demonstrations in one of the Americas’ poorest countries, where the government is struggling to take on powerful gangs and provide basic services.

The embassy of the Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, said it was closing its “doors to the public until further notice” due to the “deterioration of public safety” in the neighboring country.

The Canadian embassy also announced its closure from Thursday.

Mexico said Tuesday that its embassy would remain closed until further notice, while the Spanish embassy took similar measures on Wednesday.

The Haitian demonstrations include road blocks while public transport stopped and many shops and businesses closed for fear of looting.

On Sunday, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said the state did not have the funds to continue government fuel subsidies, saying gasoline and other fuel prices would rise sharply.

The prices of diesel and kerosene will almost double, going from around 350 gourdes (2.9 euros) to nearly 670 gourdes (5.5 euros).

Relations are already tense between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, particularly over Santo Domingo’s opposition to Haitian migrants amid acute Haitian economic distress.