Hundreds of workers have fled businesses in northern Haiti after demonstrations near assassinated President Jovenel Moïse’s hometown turned violent before his funeral
QUARTIER-MORIN, Haiti — Hundreds of workers fled businesses in northern Haiti on Wednesday after demonstrations near the hometown of assassinated President Jovenel Moïse turned violent before his funeral.
Associated Press journalists observed the body of a man who witnesses say was shot in the community of Quartier-Morin, near Trou-du-Nord, where Moïse was born. Roadblocks were set up between the two communities, temporarily preventing cars from entering or leaving as two thick, black plumes of smoke rose nearby.
Many workers hastily lined up in a single line along the main road connecting Quartier-Morin to Cap-Haïtien, the town where events in Moïse’s honor were set to begin Thursday before Friday’s funeral.
Fleeing people said they saw burning tires and men with weapons demanding justice for Moise. A woman who was out of breath said that the gunmen told her, ‘Go! To go! Go!” as workers dressed in uniforms of all colors obeyed and left the area. She refused to give her name, fearing for her life.
Abnel Pierre, who works at the Caracol Industrial Park, said he had to walk home for 45 minutes because the bus carrying workers was stuck behind blockades. He declined further comment as he hurried to his house as the sky began to darken.
These were the first violent demonstrations since Moïse was shot dead in his private home. They came a day after Ariel Henry was sworn in as the country’s new prime minister, promising to form a provisional consensus government and restore order and security.
In the capital of Port-au-Prince, Martine Moïse, widow of the slain president, made her first public appearance since her surprise return to Haiti on Saturday, though she did not speak. She was recovering at a Miami hospital after being injured in the July 7 attack at the couple’s private home.
She wore a black dress and black face mask and her right arm was in a black sling when she met officials near the National Pantheon Museum, where ceremonies are held to commemorate her husband. She was accompanied by her three children.
The capital remained peaceful in contrast to the community in northern Haiti.
Authorities have said at least 26 suspects have been detained as part of the investigation into the murder, including 18 former Colombian soldiers and three Haitian police officers. At least seven senior police officers have been placed in isolation but not formally arrested, police chief Léon Charles said.
On Wednesday, the Colombian government said it would hold a consular mission in Haiti from July 25-27 to help detained ex-soldiers and repatriate the bodies of the three others killed by Haitian authorities in the aftermath of the killing.