WASHINGTON - Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry commemorated on Friday the second anniversary of President Jovenel Moise's assassination during a solemn ceremony in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.
Moise was killed inside his home in a suburb of Port-au-Prince by armed gunmen on July 7, 2021. Haitian authorities have made 40 arrests in connection with the case, but the investigation has progressed slowly.
Eleven of the accused are being held in a Miami federal prison while they await their trials. One, Haitian businessman Rodolphe Jaar, who also has Chilean nationality, pleaded guilty in June to three charges linked to his role in the assassination. A judge sentenced Jaar to life in prison.
Members of the Haitian Cabinet, military and police officials as well as members of the diplomatic corps attended Friday’s commemoration service.
Henry laid a wreath at the memorial venue but did not make a speech. The prime minister said he would let the acts and sentiments of the day speak for themselves.
The prime minister expressed his personal sorrow as well as the nation's on the somber occasion.
Elsewhere in the Haitian capital, supporters of the slain president took to the streets to demand justice.
"The Haitian people demand justice for this transnational crime!" a protest leader shouted from a flatbed truck, rolling slowly through a neighborhood close to the prime minister's residence.
Rosemond Jean, an ally of Moise, called for an international criminal court to oversee the assassination case.
"Whatever capacity a Haitian judge may have, he will never get results, because the criminals responsible are powerful," he said.
Some protesters also called for the prime minister’s resignation.
"Under Ariel Henry's [government] we will never have justice for Jovenel Moise," said a protester who declined to give his name.
Robert Noscent, a Moise supporter who attended the protest, said a second demonstration was planned for July 20.
"We are planning protests in the four corners of the country to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has not done anything for the country [in our view]," he told VOA.
Henry was named prime minister by Moise a few days before his assassination.
In Cap Haitien, in the northern region of Haiti that Moise called home, several activities commemorated the anniversary of his death.
A group of Moise's former colleagues, including former Women's Affairs Minister Marie Ghislaine Monpremier, participated in a march.
"We are demanding justice for President Moise and justice for Haiti," Monpremier told the crowd.
A separate delegation traveled to the cemetery where Moise is buried to lay a wreath on his tomb.
A large television screen placed in the cemetery yard ran a video montage of Moise's accomplishments during his time in office.
Former first lady Martine Moise was supposed to attend the event, according to organizers, but she was a no-show. A source told VOA she missed her flight from the United States to Cape Haitien.
The northern activities ended with a memorial Mass in honor of Moise at the Cape Haitien Cathedral.
Matiado Vilme in Port-au-Prince and Gerard Maxineau in Cap Haitien contributed to this report.