Thousands in Haiti protest high cost of living
Several thousand people took the streets of Haiti’s capital to protest the government of President Michel Martelly, complaining he was not raising their dismal living standards.
The protesters, supporters of two-time president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, expressed anger at the high cost of living and rising food prices under Martelly.
“Martelly must go. He isn’t doing anything to improve our living standards,” groups of youths from the poorest neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince said as they brandished a red placard.
The protest march scattered just steps outside the presidential palace — left in ruins after a devastating 2010 earthquake that leveled the capital — as demonstrators faced barricades set up by Haitian police and UN peacekeepers.
It was just the latest in a series of protests that have shook Haiti during the past two weeks over difficult living conditions in the poorest nation of the Americas.
Demonstrators say Martelly has not kept his campaign promises of a better life for Haiti’s poorest.
The march coincided with the 21st anniversary of the first coup that ousted Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest who was a champion of Haiti’s poor and reviled by the Caribbean nation’s elite.
Haiti’s first democratically-elected leader, Aristide returned to Haiti in March 2011 and has since maintained a low profile.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]