Haiti protests escalate as streets barricaded, police cars set on fire

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PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haitians erected street barricades and set police cars ablaze on Friday as protests intensified in the impoverished Caribbean nation, after four people were killed in clashes in recent days.

Some protesters around the capital of Port-au-Prince wielded weapons while a special unit of the Haitian National Police was looted and patrol cars set on fire, witnesses reported.

Residents have been incensed for months at widespread fuel and food shortages, a weakening currency, double-digit inflation and graft accusations lodged against public officials, and many are calling for President Jovenel Moise to stand down.

Moise canceled his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this week and made a rare address to the nation.

He suggested a unity government in the hope of calming tempers after a ruling-party senator fired a pistol to disperse a crowd, injuring a photo-journalist.

In an another apparent attempt to lessen tensions, the government replaced several security officials on Thursday.

Police spokesman Gary Desrosiers said four people were shot to death in demonstrations between Sept. 16 and Sept. 25.

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