Thousands march in Haiti amid political discontent

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Thousands of anti-government protesters marched Saturday through Haiti’s capital for the second time in two days amid anger over delayed elections and other issues.

The crowd marched peacefully toward the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince. Many protesters carried posters demanding that President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe step down.

“We need elections in the country so democracy can continue … not corruption,” said 34-year-old Jean Ronald Brison, owner of an auto parts store.

Martelly’s administration was supposed to call elections in 2011 for a majority of Senate seats, the entire Chamber of Deputies and local offices. But both he and Lamothe have accused legislators of blocking a vote that would lead to approval of an electoral law. Six senators have said the legislation is unconstitutional and favors the government.

A similar protest held Friday grew violent as police fired tear gas at protesters who burned tires and threw rocks as they pushed through the security perimeter at the National Palace. No deaths or major injuries were reported.

Lamothe addressed the protest late Friday via Twitter.

“We urge demonstrators to exercise their constitutional right with restraint and responsibility,” he said in a tweet.

Four protests have been held in Haiti’s capital in about a month, and a fifth one is planned for next week.

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