Protests in Haiti after opposition lawyer arrested

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) - Haitian police fired into the air on Tuesday and used tear gas against protesters angry over the arrest of an opposition lawyer who accuses the president's wife and son of corruption, radio reports said.

The attorney, Mr Andre Michel, was arrested Tuesday evening in Port-au-Prince despite the presence of protesters and lawmakers.

Mr Michel has initiated legal proceedings against the wife and eldest son of President Michel Martelly.

Protesters responded by throwing rocks at police and setting up flaming barricades in the streets.

"This is a kidnapping. It is a human rights violation. The law establishes the terms under which a person can be arrested," said lawyer Newton St-Juste, who had joined Mr Michel in filing the legal proceedings against the president's family on grounds of corruption.

"It is an arbitrary and illegal act. This is a dictatorship," said Mr Pierre Esperance, member of the Human Rights Defense Network.

The speaker of parliament, Mr Jean Tolbert Alexis, called for more protests.

"The achievements of our democracy are in jeopardy. We cannot turn back," Mr Alexis said after the attorney's arrest.

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