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Jamaican Merchants Protest Crime Surge

Soldiers and police patrolled troubled blocks in downtown Kingston on Saturday after merchants shut their doors to protest a surge of violent crime.

Security forces toting assault rifles and submachine guns walked the streets and cruised slowly in jeeps and armored cars, stopping occasionally to question or search people they considered suspicious.

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson promised the district “will be saturated with security personnel,” after merchants began their protest Wednesday.

In radio broadcasts on Friday, Patterson said several people have been identified as the main perpetrators of violence in the area. He said warrants were issued for their arrest and that police were tracking them down.

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