Thousands of protesters clash with government supporters as demonstrations against corruption turn violent
anti-government protests Haiti
Haitian riot policemen stand guard between anti-government protesters and government supporters during an anti-government protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.
Louis-Joseph Olivier/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of Haitian protesters demanding the resignation of President Michel Martelly clashed with supporters of the leader in the streets of Port-au-Prince on Thursday.

Haiti has seen a wave of anti-government protests over the past month, with demonstrators accusing Martelly of failing to ease poverty and unemployment, and demanding his resignation.

Protesters said two people suffered gunshot wounds after Martelly loyalists opened fire during Thursday’s skirmishes.

The two sides hurled stones at each other during the fighting, which brought parts of the city to a standstill and triggered huge traffic jams.

Anti-Martelly demonstrators accused the Haitian president of cronyism, charging that he is ruling the impoverished Caribbean nation for the benefit of his friends and family.

“We are from the ghettos. We get nothing from the government, which works only for the rich,” protester Johnny Joseph shouted.

The march began peacefully as the crowd grew to a few thousand people and passed through poor neighborhoods, many of them strongholds of government critics.

“This is the people’s fight for a change for better conditions,” said Carlo Jean Daniel as he walked among the marchers. “Nothing is coming down for the people.”

The demonstrators were dispersed by police after attempting to reach the Presidential Palace.

The United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Haiti issued a statement Thursday asking the divided legislative and executive branches to agree on “priority political issues,” which include holding elections.

Wire services