Several thousands of protesters denouncing corruption blocked roads and paralysed much of Haiti’s capital Sunday as they demanded the removal of President Jovenel Moise.
Two people were killed and five injured in clashes, according to official police figures.
Demonstrators burned tires and threw stones during the march in Port-au-Prince, where the scent of burning rubber filled the air. Many stores and gas stations were closed and travel between some cities was impeded as protesters blocked roads with cars, stones and other large objects.
Police erected barricades near the presidential palace and fired tear gas to drive away demonstrators who tried to breach them.
Michael-Ange Jeunes, a police spokesman, said gunshots caused the two deaths and wounded four people. He said a police officer was also injured by a thrown rock.
There was no information on who fired the shots.
Jeunes said protesters set fire to two police cars and two buildings. He said 12 people had been arrested.
Similar protests were held in the Haitian cities of Jacmel, Cap-Haitien, Saint-Marc and Gonaives. Demonstrators came from a wide cross section of society, including political parties, religious groups and community organisations.
Protesters were demanding further investigation into the fate of funds that resulted from subsidised oil shipments from Venezuela under the Petrocaribe programme.
The judges of the High Court of Auditors said in a voluminous report last week that Moise was at the center of an “embezzlement scheme” that had siphoned off Venezuelan aid money intended for road repairs.
“We demand that all those squandering (public) funds be tried and punished, their assets seized and turned over to the state for serious development projects, and that the president resign and turn himself in,” said Velina Charlier, a protest leader.