Violence flares in Haiti ahead of slain president’s funeral

Violence flares in Haiti ahead of slain president’s funeral
Men walk past a flaming barricade after violence broke out near the home town of late President Jovenel Moise (Matias Delacroix/AP)

Hundreds of workers fled businesses in northern Haiti on Wednesday after demonstrations near the hometown of assassinated President Jovenel Moise grew violent ahead of his funeral.

Associated Press journalists observed the body of one man who witnesses said was shot in the community of Quartier-Morin, which is near Trou-du-Nord, where Mr Moise grew up.

Roadblocks were set up between the two communities, temporarily barring cars from entering or leaving as two plumes of thick, black smoke rose nearby.

Many workers walked hurriedly in a single file along the main road that connects Quartier-Morin with Cap-Haitien, the city where events to honour Mr Moise were scheduled to start on Thursday ahead of Friday’s funeral.

First Lady Martine Moise (centre) (Joseph Odelyn/AP)

Fleeing people said they saw burning tires and men with weapons demanding justice for Mr Moise.

These were the first violent demonstrations since Mr Moise was shot to death at his private home.

They came a day after Ariel Henry was sworn in as the country’s new prime minister, pledging to form a provisional consensus government and to restore order and security.

In the capital of Port-au-Prince, Martine Moise, widow of the slain president, made her first public appearance since her surprise return to Haiti on Saturday.

She had been recuperating at a hospital in Miami after she was wounded in the June 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 as she met with officials near the National Pantheon Museum, where ceremonies are being held to commemorate her husband.

The capital remained peaceful in contrast with the community in northern Haiti.

Authorities have said at least 26 suspects have been detained as part of the investigation into the assassination, including 18 former Colombian soldiers and three Haitian police officers.

At least seven high-ranking police officers have been placed in isolation, but not formally arrested, police chief Leon Charles said on Tuesday.

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