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Group of 25 Canadian students flees Haiti unrest

Sunday, February 17, 2019

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OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — A group of 25 school students from Quebec and three chaperones were able to leave Haiti on Sunday, where they had been stuck due to violent anti-government protests.

"We are on the plane" back to Montreal, one of the chaperones confirmed in a message to AFP.

Canadian tour operator Transat also confirmed that the group of students was aboard flight TS663, which departed at 3:59 pm (2059 GMT) from Port-au-Prince.

In addition to the students, employees of Canada's temporarily-shuttered embassy were also heading home aboard the aircraft.

The day before, a group of 131 Canadian tourists were evacuated via helicopter from their beachside resort in Haiti after being trapped for one week at the site due to the ongoing unrest.

The tourists were ferried in shifts to the Port-au-Prince international airport, where they boarded a flight to Canada, Transat said.

On Friday, Canada officially warned its citizens against all travel to Haiti, an advisory issued after the temporary closure of its embassy in Port-au-Prince.

Since February 7, at least seven people have died as Haiti has been plunged into political crisis, with everyday life paralyzed by protests and barricades in the largest towns.

The protesters, angry at soaring inflation and the alleged theft of nearly US$2 billion in Venezuelan oil relief, are demanding President Jovenel Moise's resignation.

Canada is one of Haiti's largest international donors and is home to a large Haitian diaspora, located mostly in French-speaking Quebec.


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