A group of Haitian protesters have resorted to using Vodou and a battle tactic inspired by the Old Testament to get President Jovenel Moise to step down.
About 20 demonstrators circled Haiti’s national palace seven times around midday Wednesday, a tactic taken from a Bible passage that was used by the Israelites to eliminate their first major obstacle on their path to the Promised Land — the fortified city of Jericho.
In the Bible passage, the Israelites walked around the walls of Jericho once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day, then shouted, causing the walls to come tumbling down.
Haitian protest organizer Etzer Jean Louis explained why he took this tactic.
“It represents seven tours of deliverance. Seven tours that broke the walls of Jericho. Seven tours that will eliminate the mafia (gangs). Seven tours that will eliminate the criminals (holding us hostage). Today, you can already see the miracles these seven tours have made happen,” he told VOA, without citing any examples.
Vodou symbols were also drawn using a white substance on a street near the presidential palace. A bundle of firewood was placed to the side and then set on fire, as protesters standing in a circle watched.
“God will strike them down so the Haitian people can breathe freely. COVID-19 has not stricken us down, but we are struggling, nonetheless. We are climbing up a steep hill,” Jean Louis said. “Haiti must be liberated. And to make that happen, the first thing is to get Jovenel Moise out. We won’t back down.”
Moise said he will step down when his term expires February 7, 2022. The international community supports that stance but urged him to organize legislative and presidential elections as soon as possible. A constitutional referendum is planned for June 27, followed by legislative and presidential elections in September and November.
A spike in kidnappings during the past month has terrorized Haitians and threatens to derail the electoral process. Gangs are currently holding five Catholic priests, two nuns and three relatives of a priest they kidnapped on April 11. The abduction sparked national and international outrage and prompted condemnation from the religious sector.
SOURCE: VOA | PHOTO: R. Blackwell/AP