Most shops and businesses remained closed on Friday in response to the strike call given by business leaders while police and UN peacekeepers intensified their patrols to maintain security in the capital.

Shots were fired during the day at a rally staged by supporters of the ousted President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Aristide is now in South Africa, where he arrived on 31 May - three months after he was forced to leave Haiti in the wake of street protests.

Plight

Since Aristide's departure, UN forces have struggled to restore order and Haiti's plight has been made worse by a series of natural disasters that have left thousands dead.

Supporters of Aristide want him back in power and peacekeepers have failed to disarm them.

Haiti's international airport remained open on Friday, but under heavy police and UN guard. Most public transport stopped amid the business leaders' appeal.

The United States closed its embassy in the capital due to tensions and renewed a warning to US citizens to leave Haiti.