Three men were shot and killed on Saturday afternoon after police claimed that a firearm was drawn by one of the men and they were forced to return fire.
However, CCTV footage from the area appears to show one of the men outside of the vehicle with his hands raised and others with their hands extended out of the vehicle windows, prompting protests on Monday and early this morning.
National Security Minister Stuart Young has called for calm and has condemned the protests.
In the meantime, the US Embassy on Port-of-Spain today issued a warning to citizens to take precautions.
"Please be advised that there are reports of civil unrest in the areas of Beetham Highway, East Port of Spain, and Maraval, Port of Spain with additional reports of rioting and gunfire exchange on Beetham Highway and East Port of Spain areas. U.S. citizens are advised to shelter in place, and monitor embassy updates and local media for information on rioting and demonstrations in the area," the statement said.
It has advised its citizens to take the following actions:
"Avoid walking or driving near the areas of East Port of Spain, Cocorite, Maraval
- Exercise caution if in the vicinity of demonstrations or large gatherings
- Monitor local media for updates.
- Be aware of your surroundings."
Speaking at a press conference in Port-of-Spain, this afternoon, National Security Minister Stuart Young claimed that some persons were paid to participate in this morning's violent protest action over police brutality in and around Port-of-Spain.
He said he received reports of persons being recruited by "criminal elements" to perform orchestrated acts including blocking roads and clashing with police officers.
"Who is paying these people? Who stands to gain from disrupting the peace and quiet in Port-of-Spain?" Young asked.
Young did not reveal who were the "criminal elements" being investigated by law enforcement officers were but said: "Criminal elements are not always who we call "gang members"."
During the press conference, Young noted that the protests were sparked by a police-involved shooting in Morvant on Saturday, in which Joel Jacob, Noel Diamond, and Israel Clinton were killed.
While Young admitted that he too had viewed CCTV footage of the incident, which were subsequently shared on social media, he called on citizens to wait on the results of investigations being conducted the T&T Police Service (TTPS) and the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).
"We want a thorough investigation. It is not for us to play judge and jury and decide who is right or wrong," Young said.
Questioned whether the protests in bordering communities in east Port-of-Spain controlled by members of the country's rival gangs may be an indication that they had temporarily put their differences aside in an apparent show of solidarity, Young said yes.
He confirmed reports that a third-floor window at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs building at Richmond Street had been hit with a projectile.
Young stated that he was not too concerned by the incident as over the past few years there had been several isolated cases of persons firing long-range shots at tall buildings in Port-of-Spain including the Ministry of Education building at St Vincent Street.
However, He noted that he was disturbed by reports that some police officers were fired upon while responding to incidents in east Port-of-Spain, yesterday morning. He claimed that no police officers had been seriously injured, at the time of the press conference.
Young sought to assure citizens that the TTPS and the Defence Force had been deployed to strategic locations in and around the city to keep the peace and to ensure that roads are not blocked when commuters were returning home.
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