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Haitian President Calls for End to Violence


Haiti's President Rene Preval issued an appeal for calm on Wednesday, as riots over food prices continued in the capital, Port-Au-Prince, and around the country.

Mr. Preval, addressing the country in a much-awaited televised speech, did not promise any immediate food relief. He instead called for civil servants and pensioners to accept a pay cut. He also vowed to subsidize the country's rice farmers.

Thousands took to the streets of the capital again on Wednesday, burning tires and blocking roads. Protesters clashed with U.N. peacekeepers as they tried to storm the presidential palace.

The U.S. embassy in Port-Au-Prince has suspended its operations indefinitely, because of violence in the capital.

At least five people have been killed since protests began last week.

Protesters also took to the streets in the southern city of Les Cayes, the northern city of Cap-Haitien, and the southwestern city of Jeremie.

Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he "deplored" the violence committed against U.N. peacekeepers, and called for an end to violent acts. He said he sympathized with the suffering endured by many Haitians as a result of rising food and fuel prices.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western Hemisphere.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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