AP Photos: Civilians navigate bodies in the streets amid violence gripping Haiti's capital

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — It's been a terrifying week for the people of Haiti, where gun battles between gangs and the police have gripped the capital, Port-au-Prince, and left bodies laying in the streets amid calls for the prime minister's resignation.

This latest outbreak of violence started late last week after Prime Minister Ariel Henry flew to Kenya to push for the U.N.-backed deployment of a police force to help fight the gangs. Unable to return home after announcing another postponement of Haiti’s elections.

Haiti remained largely paralyzed on Wednesday, as Henry struggled to stay in power and get back to Port-au-Prince from Puerto Rico.

The streets of Port-au-Prince are tense, with at least one police station and power company being burned and officers conducting anti-gang operations. The clashes between the gangs and police have placed civilians in the crosshairs, forcing some from their homes and others to seek cover wherever they could find it.

Amid the chaos, demonstrators have called for Henry to cede control to a new government that can try to restore order. Armed groups have seized on the power void, exchanging gunfire with police at Haiti’s main airport on Monday and instigating a mass escape from the country’s two biggest prisons.

Jimmy Chérizier, a former elite police officer who goes by the name Barbecue and leads the federation of gangs that has claimed responsibility for the attacks, said he aimed to block Henry’s return and force him from office.