The funeral for Haitian President Jovenel Moïse got underway Friday morning amid heavy security hours after demonstrations turned violent in the impoverished, politically volatile Caribbean nation.
Pallbearers in military attire carried Moïse’s body in a closed wooden coffin two weeks after he was gunned down — and his wife, Martine, was wounded — in an assassination still shrouded in mystery
His polished casket was placed on a dais garlanded with flowers while a Roman Catholic priest offered a blessing and a Haitian flag was unfurled, Reuters reported.
Video posted by the Haitian Times shows Martine Moïse taking a moment to reflect alongside the flag-draped coffin.
Foreign dignitaries, including President Biden’s top adviser for the Western Hemisphere, flew to the port city of Cap-Haitien to pay their respects to the slain leader.
On Thursday, violence erupted in Cap-Haitien as gunshots rang out while Moïse supporters blocked roads and demanded justice while threatening to disrupt his funeral.
A heavily armed police convoy carrying several officials rushed through a barricade of flaming tires set up at the end of a bridge, with one vehicle nearly flipping over as it passed through.
“This is real messed up since Jovenel died,” David Daniel said at the doorway of a restaurant he co-owns as the chaotic scene unfolded. “Violence has been here in Haiti since I was a kid, so I don’t think violence is going to change anything.”