Protesters march in Haiti capital to demand lower gasoline prices, call for president's ouster

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — At least 6,000 protesters marched through Haiti's capital Saturday to demand lower gas prices and the ouster of President Michel Martelly.

The protest in Port-au-Prince remained peaceful overall although police briefly threw tear gas and dispersed a crowd that had thrown trash and tires in the street to block traffic.

The protest, which diminished in strength as the afternoon wore on, was the latest in a series of demonstrations over recent weeks fueled by anger over gas prices.

The government recently lowered the price by about 25 cents to $4.50 a gallon and diesel prices dropped by about 20 cents to $3.55, but protesters say the reductions don't fully reflect the global drop in oil prices.

"The cost of living is too high," said Joel Pierre, a welder who joined Saturday's protest instead of going to work.

He said he also would join in a two-day general strike scheduled to start Monday that is aimed at forcing a shutdown of schools, banks and other institutions.

"We need to let the government know that this is serious," Pierre said.

Bus drivers struck for two days earlier in the week, stranding hundreds of thousands of workers and students.

Protesters also remain angry that President Michel Martelly began ruling by decree last month after parliament was dissolved. Long-delayed elections have not been held.

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