Mourners demand justice for assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse
A priest told mourners at a memorial service for Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on Thursday that too much blood was being shed in Haiti as authorities warned of more violence ahead of his funeral.
Reverend Jean-Gilles Sem addressed dozens of people wearing white T-shirts bearing the photo of Moses.
“The killings and kidnappings should stop,” he said, noting that poor communities are the most affected. “We are tired.”
Mass at the cathedral in the northern coastal town of Cap-Haitien was half full as officials warned other events planned for later today could be canceled due to concerns over the violence.
“We want justice”
Moïse’s supporters kept interrupting mass as they shouted and accused the Haitian elite of killing the president.
A man who identified himself as John Jovie stood outside the church with a group of men and threatened more violence if wealthy members of the elite in the capital of Port-au-Prince presented themselves at the ceremonies.
“We ask them not to come to the funeral,” he said. “If they come, we will cut off their heads. We will bring our guns out of hiding. We want justice done for Moses.”
The mayor of Cap-Haitien arrived at the cathedral safely as men with powerful weapons stood guard throughout the mass.
The mass took place a day after violence broke out in Quartier-Morin, located between Cap-Haitien and the hometown of Moïse.
Associated Press reporters saw the body of a man who witnesses said was killed during protests by gunmen who blocked roads with large rocks and burning tires.
“This is the only way for us to seek justice,” said Aurélien Stanley, a supporter of Moses, of the violence. “If we don’t get justice for Jovenel, we’ll do whatever it takes to prevent the funeral from happening.”
During the night, local media reported a fire on a nearby bridge that linked two communities.
Cap-Haitien, however, remained peaceful late Thursday morning as people gathered for the ceremonies.
“Connected to the masses”
Among them was Luckner Joseph, 40.
“He’s my president,” Joseph said of Moses. “He was connected with the masses. He always asked everyone to sit together, and the big guys didn’t want to sit with the poor.”
Before Mass began, several people stood at the entrance and shouted: “Justice for Moses! Justice for Moses!
Inside, dozens of people wore T-shirts that read: “The fight for the weak continues. Have a nice trip, President Jovenel Moïse.
President’s private funeral
A private funeral for Moses was scheduled for Friday as authorities continue to investigate the July 7 attack on the president’s home, in which he was shot several times and his wife seriously injured.
Haitian police chief Léon Charles said 26 suspects have been arrested so far, including three police officers and 18 former Colombian soldiers.
Seven other senior police officials were arrested but have not been formally arrested as authorities investigate why no one in the president’s security service was injured that night.