By Harold Isaac and Brian Ellsworth
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) -Haitian demonstrators on Thursday burned tires and blocked streets of the capital to protest ongoing fuel shortages even as the country’s main fuel terminal renewed deliveries that had been suspended due to an outbreak of gang violence.
Rights activists say nearly 90 people have been killed since a turf war broke out last week, leaving an entire neighborhood trapped without access to food or water. Shots were still ringing out and it was not clear if the gun battles had ceased.
Main arteries of the capital Port-au-Prince were blocked by burning tires and barricades set up by protesters demanding access to fuel, according to witnesses.
The operator of the Varreux fuel terminal, which halted operations last week due to the violence, said on Twitter that one vessel carrying imported fuel had unloaded a cargo on Wednesday and a second was unloading on Thursday.
Trucks have started loading at the terminal, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, signaling at least some de-escalation of the battles between the G9 and G-Pep gangs.
The prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
National Human Rights Defense Network, a Haitian rights group, said in a report on Wednesday said that at least 89 people had been killed in the violence.
Local pastor Jean Enock Joseph said on Tuesday that the Brooklyn neighborhood of Cite Soleil had been cut off by the gun battles, while Doctors Without Borders said the road leading to the neighborhood was littered with burning or decomposing bodies.
Gang violence has soared since the assassination last year of President Jovenel Moise, creating a political vacuum that criminal groups have taken advantage of to expand control over territory.
Gang wars have become more frequent, with activists in May saying one protracted confrontation killed nearly 150 people.
(Reporting by Harold Isaac and Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Frances Kerry and Bill Berkrot)