PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Several thousand Haitians marched in parallel protests today in the Caribbean nation’s capital.
One group was protesting what its members saw as political interference by the U.S. and carried a banner that asked President Barack Obama to stop supporting Haitian President Michel Martelly.
That protest reached a peak of a few thousand people but shrank to about 1,000 as it approached the U.S. Embassy.
Riot police blocked the area with barricades. Protesters responded by taking a back route to reach the embassy compound where they met police with tear gas. The demonstrators set fire to discarded tires and broke the windows of homes and cars with rocks.
Police officers were seen taking four demonstrators into custody following the disturbance. A police spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment to see if they had actually been arrested.
A second group of about 600 people led by opposition leader Maryse Narcisse placed a flower this morning in a school yard to mark the anniversary of an election day massacre 26 years ago.
Some of the protesters displayed banners supporting former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas Family party, which Narcisse leads.
Haiti has seen a spike in protests in recent months, with a few of them turning violent.
Demonstrators have objected to the rising cost of living, government waste and corruption, and the long delay of legislative and local elections.
Aristide’s political party has said it wants to run in the elections for which there’s still no date.