Haiti president breaks silence, says will not resign

Haiti president breaks silence, says will not resign
President Jovenel Moïse speaks during a press conference at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Haiti's embattled president faced a fifth week of protests as road blocks and marches continue across the country, after opposition leaders said they will not back down on their call for Moïse to resign. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has broken his silence and said it would be irresponsible for him to resign as the country enters its fifth week of deadly protests that have paralyzed the economy.

Moïse said during a surprise press conference Tuesday that he was constitutionally elected and would only relinquish power through a legal process like elections.

The president said he is open to any negotiations that would lead to a peaceful resolution to the political crisis, saying the opposition should agree to talks to reach an agreement with his government.

Opposition leaders immediately rejected Moïse’s bid for dialogue. They said his pitch was “not credible” and called on more street protests to force his resignation.

At least 20 people have died and more than 200 injured in the demonstrations.