Cap-Haitien will move forward with its carnival activities despite days of police protests that clash with the festive mood.
With several police protests taking place in Haiti’s Cap-Haitien, some residents feared they would not enjoy the annual gathering of carnival this year. But the city’s town hall and the organization Boulva Naval has announced they will still hold the music, dance and cultural festivities.
Under the theme ‘Let’s help Cap-Haitien keep Haiti alive,’ the city will hold the traditional costume parades and dances Feb. 19 to Feb. 21.
“The Town Hall wishes a happy carnival in peace to everybody and encourages the private sector to take part in the popular festivities,” states a Feb. 3 press release from Cap-Haitien Town Hall. “The organization of the municipal carnival this year follows a logic that aims to maintain the tradition of Cap-Haitien natives living together and in peace.”
Boulva Naval, a group that brought thousands to The Boulevard during its debut last year, will hold festivities on Feb. 5, Feb. 12 and Feb. 18. Musicians will perform during those three days from a moving carnival truck.
Grammy-nominated band Boukman Eksperyans is slated to perform on the closing day. Several DJs, such as DJ Sapadenm, DJ Clark, Manito Nation, will also be featured.
Police protests caused uncertainty
For weeks, residents had feared that the official festivities would be canceled after members of Haiti’s National Police (PNH) took to the streets of various cities — including Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien and Gonaïves — starting Jan. 26 after six of their colleagues were killed in a gang confrontation the previous day.
Demonstrators ransacked Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s home and stormed into the Toussaint Louverture Airport, waiting for the head of state to return to Haiti from a trip to Argentina.
Consequently, very few residents attended the pre-carnival events in Port-au-Prince over the last two Sundays. In the southwest city of Jacmel, town hall officials canceled the pre-carnival costume parades to pay homage to the fallen police officers.