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Church youth group from Florida stranded in Haiti as violent protests break out
A Bradenton, Florida youth group is stuck in Haiti during violent protests over gas prices. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Church youth group from Florida stranded in Haiti as violent protests break out

A church youth group from Bradenton, Florida, is stranded in Haiti amid violent protests there over a sharp increase in fuel prices, WFLA-TV reported.

When Haiti’s government announced the fuel price hike, people began protesting in the streets by damaging buildings and setting fires, according to the report. On Saturday, Haiti's government announced a sharp rise in fuel prices, sending the country into turmoil.

What did parents say?

Parents of the teenagers say they are worried about their kids having a safe return home. Some of the parents told the TV station they feel helpless and haven’t been sleeping.

The youth group tried to get to the airport around 4 a.m. Saturday in an attempt to avoid protesters, Mike Wilson, the founder of My Life Speaks, told WFLA. But the protests were already underway.

“When they got to the main road, that is when they encountered all of the riots,” Jill Kramer, whose 15-year-old daughter is on the trip, told the TV station. “They were on a bus with the owners of the mission, the leaders, other adults, three armed guards and they just kept getting stopped by road blocks and people asking for money and that is when they decided, at that point, it was not worth it.”

Heather Terwilliger said the Haiti trip was her 15-year-old daughter Abby's first mission trip.

“She says, ‘Mom, there is something crazy going on. Tires are being lit on fire in the street,’” Terwilliger said her daughter told her during a phone conversation.

Similar to other parents, Terwilliger said she is worried and only wants the safe return of her daughter and others who are in the group.

When will the group return?

The group is still working out arrangements for their return, according to the report. They’ve been in Haiti for about a week.

The teenagers are safe and staying at a compound that is away from the main roadways where the protests are happening, according to the report.

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