24 May 2010

Jamaican leader vows to quell unrest

10:11 pm on 24 May 2010

Jamaica's Prime Minister has denounced unrest in the capital Kingston as a "calculated assault on the authority of the state".

Bruce Golding vowed that criminals would not triumph, after supporters of an alleged druglord took to the streets to stop him from being arrested, the BBC reports.

One police station was set on fire and two others shot at by suspected supporters of Christopher "Dudus" Coke.

The authorities have declared a state of emergency in parts of Kingston.

The trouble began late last week when the authorities announced they would arrest and extradite Mr Coke to the United States. His supporters set up barricades and said they would fight to protect him.

The 41-year-old is wanted in the US on drugs and gun smuggling charges. Mr Coke's

gang is also blamed for numerous murders in Jamaica and America.

The BBC's reports Kingston now represents a city under siege. Troops and police have come under fire, and smoke was rising from the burning police station on Monday.

Mr Golding said security forces would be "moving swiftly to bring the current situation under control".

A state of emergency allowing police to conduct searches without a warrant and restrict movement was put in place in West Kingston and St Andrew districts, where the violence broke out.

The government said the measures would be in place for at least a month.

Last week, the prime minister reversed nine months of opposition to Mr Coke's extradition and admitted that he had mishandled the case.