U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield was forced to leave Haiti early Friday after gunshots were heard at the funeral she and others attended.
Thomas-Greenfield was attending the funeral for Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated on July 7 after a group of mostly former Colombian military officers and two Haitian Americans stormed the presidential palace pretending to be agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The ceremony was interrupted after protestors angrily shouted at the attendees, alleging Haitian government officials and authorities were responsible for the president’s death, according to Reuters. The protestors particularly targeted Leon Charles, the chief of Haiti’s national police, who was swarmed and yelled at. “He killed the president! Where were the security guards?,” one of them shouted, the New York Times reported. (RELATED: ‘Come Save My Life’: Haitian President Desperately Called For Help Before Assassination, According To Report)
.@PressSec on delegation in Haiti: “The presidential delegation is safe and accounted for in light of the reported shootings outside of the funeral. They’re on their way back to the United States.” pic.twitter.com/FMZCewmEbH
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 23, 2021
The gunfire erupted after police pushed the protesters back using tear gas. There were no immediate reports of injuries, according to the Guardian. The United States ambassador and her delegation left shortly after hearing the gunshots.
“The presidential delegation is safe and accounted for in light of the reported shootings outside of the funeral. They’re on their way back to the United States. We are deeply concerned about the unrest in Haiti,” the White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing Friday.
However, Thomas-Greenfield was able to meet with the new Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Foreign Minister Claude Joseph, as well as the civil society representatives, before she departed.
“The Haitian people deserve democracy, stability, security, and prosperity, and we stand with them in this time of crisis. We urge everyone to express themselves peacefully and refrain from violence. During the solemn occasion of President Moïse’s funeral today, our delegation had the opportunity to meet with PM Henry, FM Joseph and other Haitian leaders to share this message directly,” she tweeted.