Police, protesters clash in Haiti over gas prices

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Protesters clashed with police in Haiti on Monday amid a transport strike demanding lower gas prices in the impoverish Caribbean nation.

Local press reports said several people were injured in the clashes in Port-au-Prince, but police spokesman Gary Desrosiers said he could not confirm the number.

Schools, businesses and government offices were unable to operate normally due to the strike that halted traffic.

"People have barricaded roads with burning tires. Roads are blocked. But police are clearing the roads to help the flow of traffic. We have arrested several people," Desrosiers told AFP.

Youths blocked roads with large rocks and tree trunks to prevent the passage of cars and the moto-taxis that are used extensively throughout the country.

Haiti has announced a 30 US cent price drop for a gallon of gas (3.8 liters), but transport unions want it reduced by half.

"The work stoppages triggered by these calls for a strike will only hurt the national economy and created devastating consequences for the most vulnerably people in our population," a government statement said.

Last week, at least six students were shot and wounded by rubber bullets fired by police in the capital during a similar protest.