Violence Erupts as Gangs Attack Church Protestors in Port-au-Prince

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A tragic incident unfolded in Port-au-Prince as gang members launched an attack on parishioners participating in a protest organized by an evangelical church. The violence, attributed to the ongoing control exerted by gangs over most of the city, resulted in casualties.

Parishioners from the Piscine de Bethesda evangelical church were marching to protest the prevailing criminal chaos in their district. Led by Pastor Marco Zidor, the march aimed to raise awareness about the gang-related issues in the area controlled by the Canaan gang in the northern part of the capital.

Unfortunately, presumed gang members fired upon the gathering using automatic weapons upon their arrival. Disturbing videos released by the gang depicted numerous casualties strewn across the scene.

Haitian National Police, in response, termed the incident a “regrettable tragedy” and highlighted their efforts to prevent further bloodshed. They had established security perimeters and attempted to dissuade the protestors, emphasizing the risk posed by the armed gang.

The police statement stated that despite these measures, the demonstrators continued and reached the intended confrontation area with the gang. This resulted in several casualties and injuries among the protestors, some of whom were held hostage.

Among the survivors was Pastor Marco Zidor, who has been summoned to court to address allegations of leading his followers to their tragic fate.

Human rights groups, including the Je Klere Foundation, have urged prosecutors to take action against those responsible, noting that promoting violence during sermons constitutes a criminal offense under the Haitian Criminal Code.

The incident adds to the ongoing concerns surrounding gang violence in Haiti. According to the UN, over 2,400 people have lost their lives to gang-related violence since the beginning of 2023. Gangs hold sway over approximately 80 percent of the capital, leading to a surge in violent crimes, including kidnappings, carjackings, rape, and armed theft.

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