Thousands of protesters, today demonstrated in front of the remains of Haiti’s Presidential palace, calling for the resignation of President Rene Preval. Riot police had to rush in to the spot to contain the protesters and fired shots in the air. The protesters hit back by throwing stones at the police, who had to fire tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. This was the strongest display of opposition to the Haitian leader since the January 12 catastrophic 7.0 earthquake that killed more than 230,000 Haitians.
Protesters accuse Preval of using the destruction as a pretext to stay in office beyond his term that expires on February 7, 2011. Preval announced last week he would stay in office up to three months past the end of his term, on Feb. 7, 2011, if the presidential election is delayed. Officials are struggling to hold the election as scheduled this fall. The quake destroyed the election agency’s headquarters and records and killed or displaced about 1.6 million voters.