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Anti-government protesters, police clash in Haiti

Haitian protesters march in the street during an anti-government protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on November 7, 2013
Haitian protesters march in the street during an anti-government protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on November 7, 2013

Police fired tear gas Monday in Haiti's two main cities to disperse thousands of protesters demanding better living conditions and the resignation of President Michel Martelly.

In Cap Haitien, local journalists told AFP they had been beaten by security forces on the sidelines of an opposition rally that police tried to break up with tear gas.

The journalists said a protester was reported to have been wounded by gunfire.

In the capital Port-au-Prince, about 10,000 protesters massed in the center of the city where clashes broke out with police who fired tear gas in response.

The march shifted direction midmorning, heading for the upscale Petionville suburb where Martelly supporters were rallying.

"We are not going to fight with fellow Haitians, who are our brothers even if they oppose the overnment. They are manipulated by the opposition," said an engineer in the crowd of Martelly backers.

Police and the UN peacekeeping mission appealed for calm over the weekend.

In recent weeks, anti-government protests have increased in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, resulting in clashes between Martelly supporters and opponents.

Earlier this month, opposition protesters were pelted with stones and shot at by presumed supporters of the president, and three people were injured by bullets.

Martelly has warned that demonstrations calling for his resignation "won't help Haiti move forward."

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