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US authorizes non-essential diplomats, family to leave Haiti

Demonstrators flee police during a protest march in Port-au-Prince, on November 23, 2018, to demand the resignation of the President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise

Washington (AFP)

The United States on Thursday authorized non-essential diplomatic personnel and their families to leave Haiti amid tensions in the wake of violent anti-government protests.

"There are currently unpredictable and sporadic demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti," the US State Department said an updated travel advisory.

"On November 29, 2018, the US government authorized the departure of non-emergency US government personnel and their families," it said.

The impoverished Caribbean country has been on edge since mass protests against the government of President Jovenel Moise on November 18, followed by a general strike that lasted several days.

The opposition, which is demanding Moise's resignation as a condition for a political dialogue, said 11 people were killed during the protests. The national police said three people were killed.

An authorized departure is a voluntary evacuation of US government personnel when "US national interests or imminent threat to life requires it," according to the State Department.

It falls short of an ordered departure, or forced evacuation.

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