GONAÏVES, Haiti— One person was shot dead and two were injured when an anti-government group exchanged gunfire with police officers after an Independence Day celebration Jan. 1. The gun battle erupted as Prime Minister Ariel Henry and his entourage were leaving a cathedral in Gonaïves where a celebration to commemorate Haiti’s independence from France took place.
The person fatally shot was identified as Yves Durogène, according to Vant Bèf Info.
Henry attended the mass at Saint Charles of Borromeo Cathedral, but could not make his way to a podium built in the city for him to deliver the Independence Day speech that the head of state traditionally gives. A video circulated on social media shows Henry and other officials running after leaving the cathedral when they heard gunshots. Police officers are seen firing back.
Winter Etienne, leader of The Revolutionaries group in Raboteau, an area in Gonaïves, had warned Henry not to come to the city for Independence Day because of Henry’s alleged involvement in President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination.
Gonaïves is known as Haiti’s City of Independence because the first celebration of freedom from France took place there in 1804.
The late Moïse delivered his last two Independence Day speeches at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince in 2020 and 2021 after being warned not to go to Gonaïves.