PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Riot police in Haiti broke up the tail end of an anti-government demonstration that drew thousands of people marking Monday’s anniversary of the 1991 ouster of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
A handful of protesters responded by setting up fiery barricades that blocked a major thoroughfare that cuts through the heart of downtown Port-au-Prince.
Critics of Haitian President Michel Martelly gathered under a heavy police presence Monday morning and then proceeded to march through the capital’s shanties, all Aristide strongholds. The initial crowd swelled to several thousand.
Some of them demanded that Martelly resign because of corruption allegations while others protested the absence of elections.
Riot police fired tear gas at the demonstrators after they veered from the approved route.
Haiti was supposed to have held legislative and local elections two years ago. But infighting among the different branches of the government has delayed the vote.
Martelly has said officials will hold the elections this year, but that looks unlikely.
Aristide’s political party, the Lavalas Family, has said it plans to run, and its popularity could pose a formidable challenge to Martelly and his allies.
Thousands of people shadowed Aristide in May as he toured the capital following a court hearing. It was one of the biggest rallies in Port-au-Prince this year.