Haitian authorities arrested over 20 people, including a Supreme Court judge On Sunday (February 7), for their role in an alleged plot to oust President Jovenel Moise.
According to Reuters, Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe said to a news conference at his residence that a senior police official was also one of the 23 detained with money, guns and ammunition.
“These people had contacted national palace security officials, high-ranking officers of the national palace whose mission was to arrest the president … and also to facilitate the installation of a new president,” Jouthe said, standing next to the minister of justice and the chief of police.
Moise later spoke at the Port-Au-Prince airport and said the plot against him was an “attempt on my life.” Earlier Sunday, anti-government demonstrators in the country’s capital clashed with police who responded with tear gas. Street protests against Moise also broke out in other towns, Reuters reported.
The ousting attempt comes as political tensions are on the rise in the Caribbean country. Leading opposition figures recently announced a plan to replace Moise with a new head of state, accusing the president of authoritarianism and blaming him for economic chaos in Haiti.
The opposition plan asked for civilians and political leaders to choose a new president from one of the current Supreme Court judges, rather than waiting for Haiti’s September general elections.
Moise has stated he would hand power over to the winner of the elections but wouldn’t step down until his term expires next year.
Haiti has been hit hard by a crippling economic crisis that was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has also been plagued by a spike in kidnappings and a sharp rise in overall crime during the past year.