By Maria Montecelos
Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Jul 22 (EFE).- A church mass on Thursday in north Haiti’s Cap-Haitien in honor of assassinated president Jovenel Moïse took place alongside heated protests, especially in the center of the city, where burning barricades marked the eve of his burial.
The north of Haiti, of which the late head of state was a native, has shown greater sentiment for the president than the rest of the country after the assassination at dawn on July 7 at his home in the capital.
The atmosphere in Cap-Haitien has been heating up in recent days and the fuse was lit in the early afternoon, after the most fanatical supporters of the president entered the cathedral where mass was taking place.
Those in attendance were not troubled by Moïse’s supporters, who kept interrupting the mass with cries for justice
The funeral will be held Friday at the Moïse family residence a few kilometers from the city, but the imminent burial of the president has inflamed the outrage of his supporters, who do not want their leader to be buried until justice is done.
The protests upended the commemorative agenda planned by the authorities in which they hoped to fill the main streets with a peaceful march to the Plaza de Armas, where there was to be a symbolic lighting of candles.
However it was not the candles that were lit, but dozens of tire barricades blocking the entire city, as protesters clamored for justice and pointed to every foreign-looking person.
The fact that the perpetrators who shot the president, and wounded first lady Martine Moïse, were Colombian nationals has raised suspicions of foreigners.
“They (Colombians) come here to Haiti to kill the president. That’s not good, Colombian[s] not good,” protester Billy Joseph repeated in front of Efe’s camera.
“[The city] is turbulent because our president is dead. He was killed. He was our president. He was not good, but still our president,” he said.
The police presence at one of the protest flashpoints prevented the violence from spiraling out of control, although the burning of barricades did not stop.
Meanwhile, the United States has once again insisted on the importance of establishing the conditions necessary to hold “free and fair” legislative and presidential elections “as soon as feasible.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to new Prime Minister Ariel Henry two days after the inauguration of the head of government.
According to a statement, Washington reiterated its support for the people of Haiti after the “heinous” assassination of Moïse and reavowed its commitment to work with the Haitian government, with which it is collaborating in the investigation of the assassination, as well as the Colombian authorities.
According to the investigation, the majority of the group of 26 mercenaries who broke into the presidential residence were Colombian, and did not encounter resistance from the security forces guarding the mansion in the Pelerin 5 sector of Port-au-Prince. EFE