Latin America & Caribbean

Haiti protesters clash with police in anti-Martelly march

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Media captionThe Haitian government has faced months of protests over delayed elections

Protesters in Haiti have clashed with police in a demonstration calling for the resignation of President Michel Martelly over long-delayed elections.

Police in the capital, Port-au-Prince, fired tear gas and sprayed water on hundreds of demonstrators.

Haiti is facing a major political crisis, as the mandates of its lawmakers expire at midnight on Monday.

If there is no agreement to extend their mandates, Haiti will be left without a functioning government.

Mr Martelly would then have to rule the country by decree.

The opposition accuses him of abusing his powers.

Earthquake anniversary

Two weeks ago, Mr Martelly announced he had reached a deal with the Congress to solve the crisis.

Under the agreement, Haiti's deputies would keep their seats until 24 April and senators until 9 September.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many protesters say they will only stop when President Martelly resigns
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Martelly (right) says the opposition has blocked attempts to solve the crisis
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters blame the government for the worsening economic crisis
Image copyright AP
Image caption Police sprayed water to disperse some of the estimated 1,500 protesters at the march

But the Senate is yet to vote on the proposal.

The Haitian government has faced months of protests over the delayed elections.

Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe resigned on 14 December and was replaced by Evans Paul, a former radio journalist.

But street protests have continued, with renewed calls for Mr Martelly's resignation.

Mid-term Senate elections had been originally due in May 2012, while the municipal poll is three years behind schedule.

They were postponed again on 26 October - the day they were due to be held - because of an ongoing stalemate between the government and a group of opposition senators over an electoral law.

On Monday Haiti marks the anniversary of the earthquake that left much of the country devastated in 2010.

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