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US Marines sent to guard Haiti Embassy in wake of deadly riots

Haitians remove debris on a street near the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 17, 2010. (MCCS Spike Call/WikiCommons)
July 12, 2018

A travel alert was issued this week by the U.S. State Department, and 13 members of the Marine Security Augmentation Unit arrived in Haiti to reinforce security at the U.S. Embassy in the wake of deadly riots there.

People have been killed as looters robbed, burned and destroyed shops in Haiti’s capital following days of violent protests over the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices.

Members of the Quantico, Virginia-based unit are trained Marine security guards who will reinforce U.S. embassies that are facing threats, reported.

The travel advisory, a Level 4 alert, advised Americans not to travel to Haiti “due to civil unrest and crime.”

An undisclosed number of non-uniformed security personnel were also dispatched to the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, a defense official said.

Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy requested the Marines’ presence, facing pending trouble.

A State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the safety and security of Americans are among their highest priorities.

“Local law enforcement and U.S. Embassy security authorities will take appropriate measures to safeguard personnel and visitors,” the official said.

Civil unrest and violent demonstrations broke out in Haiti after Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant said that gasoline, diesel and kerosene prices would jump by up to 51 percent.

The fuel price hike was suspended Saturday, but disorder continued.

“On July 9, 2018, the U.S. government authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and their families. Right now, the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens,” the State Department warning read.