Gunshots rang out near the funeral for Haiti’s assassinated President Jovenel Moise on Friday — prompting a high-level U.S. delegation to abruptly leave and other dignitaries to run for cover.
The state funeral in the northern city of Cap-Haitien was intended to foster national unity, but the disturbances reflected deep division over the July 7 atrocity, in which foreign gunmen walked apparently unchallenged into the presidential residence and shot Moise multiple times, also injuring his wife. Few answers have emerged about who planned the killing, or why.
There were no immediate reports of injuries among protesters or authorities on Friday.
Friday’s disturbances follow days of tension marked by violent unrest in the region.
Local Sandro Louis Philippe expressed his frustration. "People want to say one thing: everyone is protesting because President Jovenel is dead. That is why everyone is sad, that is the reason why people are blocking the streets."
U.S. President Joe Biden's ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, was in attendance, leading the U.S. delegation on Friday. The delegation had heard the gunshots and was returning home slightly earlier than expected.
The White House said the presidential delegation was safe and accounted for and said the administration remains deeply concerned about the unrest in Haiti.
Earlier Friday, Thomas-Greenfield called on Haiti's new Prime Minister Ariel Henry to create conditions for legislative and presidential elections "as soon as feasible."
The service went ahead, with speeches by family members, but it was punctuated by angry shouts by supporters accusing authorities of responsibility for Moise's death.