Furniture litters the ground after being dragged out of the Haitian Senate by opposition senators, May 30, 2019.
Furniture litters the ground after being dragged out of the Haitian Senate by opposition senators, May 30, 2019.

The sound of furniture being dragged across the floor disrupted the silence inside Haiti's parliament at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

Four opposition senators and some helpers dragged chairs, desks and other furniture out of the Senate chamber and into the yard just 30 minutes before the Senate was due to begin debating the nomination of Prime Minister-designate Jean Michel Lapin.

The proceedings were canceled Thursday after the Senate furniture was removed. A new vote is planned for June.

On Wednesday, Senate leader Carl Murat Cantave had announced his intention to move forward with the process, at a standstill since March 18, when former Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant resigned amid corruption allegations. 

Lapin's initial appearance before the Senate ended in chaos last month when a fight broke out between two senators who hurled insults and threw punches before calm was restored. 

The opposition has dug in its heels and vowed to block the process until all former members of the Ceant Cabinet are removed from Lapin's proposed new government. 

Senator Antonio Cheramy talks to VOA Creole about
Senator Antonio Cheramy talks to VOA Creole about the furniture protest on the lawn of the Haitian parliament, May 30, 2019.

"What we did was a [deliberate] strategy," Sen. Antonio Cheramy, one of the opposition leaders who masterminded the furniture protest, told VOA Creole. He alleged that Cantave "violated various parliament regulations" during the process, which led to more drastic measures on their part. 

"We've always said that we will not be bullied [by the ruling party]," Cheramy said. "I think everyone can agree that we need a government that defends the right of the people." 

Haitians cheered Cheramy in the streets as his car made its way through downtown after leaving the Senate.

'The beginning of the revolt'

Meanwhile, outside the gates of parliament, dozens of protesters gathered in a show of support for the opposition's actions.

"Lock them up!" they chanted, referring to corrupt politicians. 

Downtown, tires burned in the middle of Rue Pave, a main thoroughfare, and cars that risked navigating the road were met with a shower of rocks, VOA Creole's reporter said. The reporter also saw two Ministry of Public Works tractors parked in the middle of the road.

Protesters gather in front of of the Haitian parli
Protesters gather in front of of the Haitian parliament in Port au Prince, May 30, 2019.

"The people decided to put these here because we're done, we've had enough," said a young man standing near the tractors. "We can't let our country become a nation of thieves." 

Asked where they got the equipment, the protester claimed he didn't know.

"We don't know how they got here, but what is important is that the people are watching. We know who is our enemy and who isn't. This is the beginning of the revolt," the protester said. 

In another neighborhood of the capital, protesters dropped large rocks in the middle of the road, rendering it virtually impassible. 

"We can't take it anymore," a protester yelled. "We want Jovenel [Moise, the president] to resign. Today we say, 'No, we can't take it. We are done.' " 

The young man told VOA Creole that protesters would stay in the streets until their demands are satisfied. 

Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters in fro
Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters in front of the parliament building in Port au Prince, Haiti, May 30, 2019.

?Reactions online

On social media, reaction to the events were mostly negative. 

"These four people, I'd like them to search Google for the definition of opposition. Then analyze your actions and see if you should call yourselves something else," @jeffdenis3451 commented on VOA Creole's Instagram page. 

"These guys should be fined for what they did and then jailed," @otoniel_lafortunajean.j said. 

But @elgetseycharles3 applauded the move, saying, "Bravo."