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U.S. Church Youth Groups Stranded in Haiti Due to Violent Protests

Barricades placed by demonstrators are seen on the streets of Petion Ville, in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, to protest the increase in fuel prices
AFP/HECTOR RETAMAL

Youth groups from multiple churches in the United States are stranded in Haiti and unable to get back home due to violent protests in the Caribbean island nation over fuel prices.

The faith-based nonprofit My Life Speaks announced that its mission teams from the Glade Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, and Woodland Community Church in Bradenton, Florida, cannot get to the airport to evacuate the country due to blocked roads and violent protests.

The Associated Press reported that at least three people had been killed because of the protests, including a police officer and an opposition leader. The U.S. Embassy in Haiti warned Americans to shelter in place and to avoid the violent demonstrations going on in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince over the government’s decision to sharply increase the price of gasoline.

Mike Wilson, the founder of My Life Speaks, told WFLA that the groups tried to leave for the airport early Saturday morning to avoid protests. But leaders decided it would be safer to stay at their compound in Neply—a rural area of Haiti away from major roads—due to the multiple roadblocks hampering the groups’ ability to get around.

“We ask that you continue to pray for us, the Haitian people who are hurting and those innocent people caught in the middle of this moment,” My Life Speaks wrote in a Facebook post.

It is unclear when the mission teams will be able to return to the U.S. safely, but the Tennessee-based nonprofit said the groups are making the most of their situation by “spending time in the [community] and hanging out at the beach” while working to get back home safely.

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