Haitian Church Shut down After Members Clash With Deadly Gang
Haitian Church Shut down After Members Clash With Deadly Gang: The Haitian authorities have reportedly temporarily suspended the operating license of the Church of the Pool of Bethesda in Caradeux after the congregation’s pastor, Marcorel Zidor, recently led hundreds of his members into a deadly confrontation with a violent gang, then blamed the deaths of at least seven of them on their lack of faith.
According to Haiti Libre, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship Jean Victor Généus announced the suspension of the church’s operating license, although it does not appear to have stopped the church from operating.
The church’s YouTube site shows that Zidor, also known as Pastor Marco, has streamed church activities online four times since Aug. 25, when he persuaded his members to partake in the violent conflict with the gang ruling a Port-au-Prince suburb called Canaan. According to a church notice, one event is scheduled for September 9.
Many of his followers also appear to be devoted to him, as they left many encouraging messages online showing their support for his ministry.
In an earlier press statement, Haiti’s Police Chief Frantz Elbé said Zidor, who is popularly known as Pastor Marco, led several hundred of his followers, some of whom were armed with sticks and machetes, to overthrow the gang in Canaan.
Elbé said police tried to stop the protest by setting up security perimeters and warning church officials that confronting the gang members was not a good idea, but they ignored the warnings. In an earlier report, The Christian Post noted that Zidor had convinced his parishioners that they could not be harmed by the bullets from the gangsters, and they believed him.
“They were determined because the pastor told them, ‘They will not get shot,’” Elbé said during a subsequent press conference.
“There was a belief in this crowd; there was a determination,” he added. “The police did everything they could to prevent the crowd from arriving at its destination.”
A video posted on X, formerly known as the platform Twitter, shows gang members opening fire on the church members with what appears to be the lifeless bodies of a man and woman from the protests at the end of a trail of blood in the unpaved streets of the squatter community. Other videos posted on YouTube show several members who were also kidnapped. Zidor allegedly abandoned his flock on a motorcycle, Haiti Libre reported.
In an interview with Mega Radio, cited by Reuters, Zidor said the members of his flock who died after they were shot had died because they “went to hide” in houses.
“Those who died are those who went to hide in the houses,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of my parishioners were being shot at; none of them got hit.”