Haiti: Demonstration held at funeral for teacher killed by police

[Translation of an article from Alterpresse for October 22. See original article here and related article here.  Note that several variations of the teacher’s name have appeared in news stories.]

Port-au-Prince – The funeral for teacher Louis Jean Filbert, mortally wounded by the police, gave rise on Friday, October 22, to a demonstration in the capital by dozens of members of the Union Nationale des Normaliens Haïtiens (UNOH – National Union of Haitian College Teachers), close family members and friends of the deceased.

“Justice and compensation for Professor Jean Filbert Louis,” chanted the demonstrators, who made their way along several streets in Port-au-Prince.

After religious services for the teacher, which were held in a church in the eastern part of the capital, the demonstrators carried the coffin toward the Ministry of Education in the center of the city.

The demonstrators erected barriers of burning tires along the route of the march to express their anger.

“The professor did not die in vain. Justice will be done,” declared Josué Mérilien, coordinator of UNOH. He added that “Filbert’s blood will serve as leaven to advance the struggle, which is a categorical imperative.”

The UNOH coordinator holds government authorities responsible for the death of the professor.

“I demand justice for my son and we are going to fight to obtain it,” declared Zilianne Louis, the victim’s mother.

According to Michelène Chery, a cousin of the deceased, “Filbert’s death is a serious blow for the family and we demand justice.”

Thirty-five-year-old Jean Philibert Louis died on the morning of Saturday, October 9 at the Hôpital de l’Université d’État d’Haïti (HUEH – Hospital of the State University of Haiti). He had been shot in the head the previous day during a UNOH demonstration broken up brutally by the police.

During the first week of the school year, students and teachers organized demonstrations and sit-ins favoring the right to education and universal schooling in Haiti.

Because of the lack of sufficient classrooms and economic problems facing parents, many students have not returned to school.

The Haitian educational system was seriously affected by the earthquake of January 12, which caused the deaths of 1,400 teachers, 38,000 students and 150 education ministry employees and the destruction of 4,200 schools, according to official figures.

In addition, some 500,000 school-aged children are not currently in school.

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