Airlines cancel flights to Haiti amid violent protests over gas prices

Passengers at Miami, Fort Lauderdale airports affected

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – U.S. airlines announced Saturday that the companies had halted all flights to Haiti amid violent protests on the island over rising fuel prices.

The last-minute cancellations Saturday morning affected passengers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport.

"We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, but the safety of our guests and crew is paramount.  We will continue to monitor the situation and resume service as soon as possible," said Derek Dombrowski, a spokesman for Spirit Airlines.

American Airlines said the decision would affect six flights scheduled for Saturday, including four from Miami International Airport and two from Fort Lauderdale.

The Haitian government suspended the fuel price hike Saturday.

However, major protests erupted Friday in Haiti as the government announced the sharp increase in gasoline prices, with demonstrators using burning tires and barricades to block major streets across the capital and in the northern city of Cap-Haitien.

At least three people were killed. Journalists saw the body of two protesters who had been fatally shot in the Delmas area of the capital as demonstrators clashed with police. It was unclear who shot the men.