Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti capital hit by anti-government clashes

Image of Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe stands against burning tyres in Port-au-Prince. 5 Dec 2014
Image caption An image of Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe was placed against burning tyres in Port-au-Prince

Thousands of anti-government protesters have clashed with police in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince.

They burned tyres and threw stones at officers who responded with tear gas.

The protesters want President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to resign and long-overdue elections to be held.

Some protesters accused the US of supporting Haiti's leadership and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin for help.

Hundreds succeeded in reaching the National Palace, an area which has been restricted for several years.

One protester, who gave his name as Reginald, said: "Today is a victory against President Martelly who destroys the country, for two years we (are not allowed) to cross in front of the National Palace."

President Martelly was supposed to call elections in 2011 but they have been postponed in a stalemate between the government and a group of opposition senators over electoral law.

Haiti is also still struggling to recover from a 2010 earthquake.

Opposition politicians accuse President Martelly of wanting to rule by decree.

The government argues that opposition politicians are also dragging their feet in the hope of extending their time in office without elections.

Image caption Some protesters called on Russia's President Vladimir Putin for help
Image caption Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters in Port-au-Prince

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