Wed | Nov 13, 2019

Thousands mourn those killed in protests to oust Moïse

Published:Thursday | October 17, 2019 | 10:22 AM
Relatives of murdered community leader Josemano ‘Badou’ Victorieux mourn during his funeral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, yesterday.
Relatives of murdered community leader Josemano ‘Badou’ Victorieux mourn during his funeral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, yesterday.

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AP):

Thousands of people across Haiti attended funerals on Wednesday for protesters who have died in ongoing demonstrations aimed at ousting President Jovenel Moïse.

The funerals for 11 of at least 20 people killed were held in six cities, including the capital of Port-au-Prince, where sweat mingled with tears as mourners packed a church in the neighbourhood of Delmas.

Some women shouted, rocked back and forth and fell to the floor as people yelled, “Down with Jovenel!” and “Jovenel has to go!” Tyres burned in the street outside the church.

Among the mourners was 42-year-old Jean-Mary Daniel, who said the deaths won’t halt the demonstrations that have shuttered many schools and businesses for nearly five weeks.

“A soldier died, but that doesn’t mean you can destroy the army,” he said.

Moïse held a press conference on Tuesday and said it would be irresponsible for him to step down and he repeated calls for dialogue. However, opposition leaders have rejected those calls and said they will keep organising demonstrations until Moïse resigns.

anger over corruption

The protests are fuelled by anger over corruption, inflation that has reached 20 per cent and dwindling of basic supplies, including gasolene. Sixty per cent of the people in a country of nearly 11 million make less than US$2 a day and 25 per cent less than US$1 a day.

The funerals were held a day after the UN’s Mission for Justice Support in Haiti ended its operations, marking the first time since 2004 that there is no peacekeeping operation in the country. UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the Security Council that progress since 2004 has been “considerable, but the achievements of stability are still fragile and must be deeper rooted in democracy and development”.