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Haiti: The Haitian police: An institution in ruin and now under siege

In recent months in Port-au-Prince, that command — “hands up” in English — has been issued more often by gun-toting gangsters than by law enforcement apprehending suspects. 

In early June, videos of residents fleeing a gang shootout, with hands raised, went viral. Meanwhile, some police officers stayed in their stations, even spent the night there so they wouldn’t get attacked, according to Matin Débat, a news show. But even then, they weren’t safe.

Gang members attacked nine police stations between June 1 and June 7, killing eight police officers, according to a human rights report. Bandits also took with them at least 18 rifles from a police station in Cité Soleil and have been occupying that station since June 12.

That day, the Haitian National Police (PNH) celebrated its 26th anniversary. In recent years, PNH has been ineffective in Haiti’s ongoing violence, human rights experts have said.

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