Gleaner– At least 17 people have been killed and 187 injured, including journalists, during recent violent protests in Haiti demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse, a leading human-rights group in the Caribbean nation said.

Accusing anti-riot police officers of engaging in repressive policing between September 16 and 30, the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights yesterday called for an investigation into the misuse of tear gas and incidents of police brutality by the Haiti National Police.

“The police, an apolitical institution, must be able to behave professionally,” the human rights group said, also criticising the use of masked police officers during the demonstrations.

While police are not responsible for all of the deaths and injuries, protesters have accused them of using repressive tactics to control crowds. They also have denounced the presence of armed government supporters in the protests that have also set police stations and vehicles ablaze.

Earlier this week, Religions for Peace Haiti said it would no longer seek to mediate in efforts to establish a government of national unity in the French-speaking Caribbean Community after the opposition said it would not participate in the talks.

In a letter addressed to President Jovenel Moïse’s Director of Cabinet, Nahomme Dorvil, the inter-faith group said it had been rebuffed by the three main opposition parties when it sought to hold talks with them on the issue.

Religions for Peace Haiti said that the opposition parties were maintaining the position that Moïse should resign and would hold no talks with him on a government of national unity.

Moïse, had, in a Twitter message, written that he had requested the inter-faith group to act as a facilitator to ensure that efforts at a government of national unity received the support of the other stakeholders.