MONTREAL — Canada closed its embassy in Haiti Thursday amid violent street protests that have trapped dozens of Canadians in the Caribbean country.
Global Affairs Canada had updated its travel advisory for Haiti a day earlier, advising against all non-essential travel to the country.
“We will continue to evaluate the security situation over the coming days to determine what steps are necessary to ensure that our diplomats and their families are safe,” Global Affairs said in a statement Thursday. It said it has people on the ground to provide assistance to Canadian citizens in Haiti as needed.
Watch: Death toll rises in crackdown on protests in Haiti. Story continues below.
A group of tourists from Quebec are stuck in a Haiti hotel, unable to make it to the Port-au-Prince airport because of violent street protests.
The only highway linking the all-inclusive Royal Decameron Indigo Beach resort to the airport is considered extremely dangerous, and people are staying off it. The hotel on the Caribbean country’s Cote des Arcadins is about 75 kilometres north of the capital.
Air Transat, which sold package tours to the resort, says its flights between Montreal and Haiti are continuing, but it has been unable to provide safe ground transport from the resort to the airport.
Marie-Christine Remy, said her mother, Terry Watson, and her mother’s partner, Sylvain Limoges, were supposed to fly home last Sunday but could not make it to the airport. They were switched to a flight Wednesday but again could not get out.
“It’s really troubling,” Remy said from Sherbrooke, Que. “I called the Canadian government and they told me that it was best to stay at the hotel, which is safer. It is the highways that are particularly dangerous.”
Some tourists have told Quebec media helicopter transport is available to the airport but at a very high cost.
Protests demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise have claimed several lives over the past week. Protesters are angry about skyrocketing inflation and the government’s failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multi-billion Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti.