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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 17:48 GMT
Jamaica police deaths spark riots
The airport road in Montego Bay, Jamaica, following the riots
The airport road was blocked by protesters
The Jamaican Government has ordered an inquiry into the police killings of two elderly men, which sparked mass riots.

Thousands took to the streets, burning cars and blocking roads near Montego Bay airport in protest at the deaths of a taxi driver and newspaper seller.

Police said the two men were caught in crossfire with an armed gang during a dawn raid on Saturday.

Jamaica has one of the world's highest rates of police killings.

Around 2,000 people threw rocks and chanted "police brutality" and "we want justice!" as police and soldiers in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse them.

At least five cars and four buses were reportedly burned along the road to Sangster International Airport in the northern town of Montego Bay.

'Cold blood'

The protesters said the two men - identified as taxi driver David Bacchas, 63, and 66-year-old newspaper seller Cecil Brown - had been killed by the police in cold blood.

Superintendent Ionie Ramsay-Nelson, of the Jamaica Constabulary Force said they were caught in a dawn shoot out between officers and at least six armed men.

"By all indications these were two decent, hardworking citizens," he said, adding that police were offering to assist with funeral arrangements and had suspended the officers involved.

Jamaica has one of the world's highest per capita rates of police killings and its police force has long been criticised by human rights groups for alleged abuses.

Acting Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has ordered the police public complaints authority to investigate, the Caribbean Media Corporation news agency reports.


SEE ALSO:
Jamaica acts over police abuse
09 Jun 03  |  Americas
Country profile: Jamaica
04 Jul 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Jamaica
04 Jul 03  |  Country profiles


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