Gonaïves’ Mayor Donald Diogène is asking police officers to start working as they used to because some of them have stopped going on duty to take part in a protest stirred by the killing of six of their colleagues.
A week into a police protest movement prompted by the death of six police officers, Gonaïves’ Mayor Donald Diogène implored police officers to go back on duty and protect the residents.
“While you’re grieving the loss of your brothers who fell in horrible conditions, don’t give up because the people are counting on you,” Diogène told The Haitian Times in a Feb. 2 WhatsApp call. “The town hall is with you all and we will help how we can but we need police officers to stand stronger and start working again normally.”
Police officers are not working as usual even though Gonaïves is more at risk of danger because 11 inmates escaped out of the Gonaïves Prison during a jailbreak on Jan. 27. Police officers allegedly started the jailbreak after barging into the prison to set two of their colleagues free, according to Metropole. At least 14 inmates died.
The police protests began after gang members killed six police officers during a confrontation in Liancourt, a commune in the Artibonite Department 32 miles from Gonaïves on Jan. 25. Five days before that, bandits also killed eight police officers in Port-au-Prince, raising the number of police officers killed this year to 15.
Angry, police officers started taking it to the streets in different cities such as Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, Les Cayes, Saint-Marc and Gonaïves on Jan. 26. In Port-au-Prince, they ransacked Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s home and stormed into the Toussaint Louverture, waiting for the head of state to return to Haiti from a trip to Argentina.
Diogène said he noticed that the police’s performance in Gonaïves improved before the movement and he is hoping that things will get back to normal.
“Work was getting done,” Diogène said. “Unfortunately, because of this incident things have gone down.”