Haiti: New calls for Martelly to resign as deal is announced

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Demonstrators carried posters with the picture of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Thousands of protesters in Haiti have returned to the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, to call for President Michel Martelly's resignation.

Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowd.

Mr Martelly urged protesters to keep order and said he had reached a deal with the opposition to form a consensus government within the next 48 hours.

Parliament was dissolved on Tuesday after its term expired, leaving Haiti without a functioning government.

The opposition accuses Mr Martelly of abusing his powers and forcing a political deadlock in order to rule the country by presidential decree.

Earthquake anniversary

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

On Monday, he said the opposition had agreed to end the political deadlock, but hours later parliament was dissolved without a deal being reached.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Mr Martelly says he has reached an agreement with the opposition to hold new elections
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Protesters blame the government for the worsening economic crisis

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 marked the anniversary of the earthquake that left much of the country devastated in 2010.

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