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Beetham Gardens residents fire shots at police, soldiers
Beetham Gardens residents fired gunshots at police and army officers in broad daylight and promised intensified action by nightfall, in a confrontation off the Beetham Highway, Port-of-Spain this afternoon.
The residents' protest started when Christopher Greaves, 25, died at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital on Sunday evening after he was shot by police earlier in the day.
At around 1:30 pm, protesting residents left their post on the Priority Bus Route and headed to the Beetham Highway.
The confrontation off the highway started when police and soldiers arrived in vans and trucks, accompanied by a tractor to remove debris.
A group of residents surged forward in a circle around Deputy Police Commissioner Mervyn Richardson, while hurling insults at police officers.
Police and soldiers formed a line, using shields and bullet-proof vests to protect themselves, while residents shouted angrily.
Several reporters and photographers stood in-between.
“Murder! Murderers!” one angry woman shouted.
“Allyuh better don’t pray for darkness to come,” one teenager warned.
The stand-off escalates
Residents started throwing rocks and boulders at a truck that was moving toward them, driven by an armed soldier.
Police and soldiers pushed forward in closed ranks, shields at the fore, tear gas and guns in hand, driving residents behind the southern wall that acts as a barrier between the community and the highway.
As they pushed forward, residents angrily pushed back.
They drew batons and started swinging at pieces of metal and plastic placed to keep them out.
Residents threw more debris.
One man fell to the ground, as a baton swung at a piece of metal, hit him instead. Gun shots were heard coming from behind the Beetham wall.
Police drew their weapons, and shouted for everyone to vacate the area: “Get down!” “Get on the Floor!” “Get in your car!”
As officers ducked for cover behind vehicles, residents drew back into the streets of their community, shouting promises that the protest would continue.
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