Violent protests shake Haiti's capital

Port-au-Prince (AFP) –

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Protesters looted a police station in the Haitian capital Friday as the latest in a wave of violent demonstrations drew thousands of people into the street against President Jovenel Moise.

Crowds stripped the abandoned police station in Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince's poorest neighborhood, of sheet metal roofing, furniture and police protection equipment.

"We did not want the police to come out of their base because this is a unit that fired real bullets at the people, that uses tear gas grenades when all people want is to be respected," said Steven Edgard, a protester.

"Now people are taking whatever they can to make their houses better because they are tired of getting soaked when it rains," he said.

A national police spokesman contacted by AFP was unable to say how the police station was overrun.

One of the poorest countries in the Americas, Haiti has been plunged into political crisis for months, with Prime Minister Fritz-William Michel yet to be confirmed in office since he was appointed in late July.

In a rare address to the nation on Wednesday, Moise appealed for national reconciliation and a unity government, but has so far failed to stem the wave of anger on the streets.

Three-fifths of Haiti's population live below the poverty line of $2 a day, with popular resentment compounded by allegations of high-level corruption, and a summer of grinding fuel shortages.