Haiti police fear violence and arrest troublemakers

Haitian authorities are rounding up troublemakers to prevent sporadic looting from turning into wider violence in the aftermath of the Caribbean nation's devastating earthquake, a senior security official said.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has a history of street violence and looting during all-too frequent bouts of political unrest and natural disaster in its volatile recent history.



"There have been some attempts to make trouble. There are thieves coming out," Haitian police inspector-general Jean-Yonel Trecile told Reuters late yesterday.



"To make sure this does not spread, we have taken a number of these people off the streets. We have arrested about 50 people. I hope now we will stay peaceful."



Shooting has broken out several times in downtown Port-au-Prince, witnesses say, since Tuesday's earthquake, killing tens of thousands of people.



Some refugees, in makeshift camps all over the coastal capital, say thieves are preying on their meager possessions, while looters have been carrying goods out of a few shops.



But Haiti's feared gangs do not appear to be terrorizing the streets as they have in the past, locals say. The desperation of the homeless and hungry also has so far not turned into mass protests or ransackings, although many worry that may still happen.



Trecile, one of several inspector-generals leading the 9,000-strong police force, said it was crucial for Haitians to remain calm and united.



"No one is responsible for this, there is no one to blame, we are all in this together," he said. "Those of us who have survived need to be courageous to cross this difficult step, show solidarity and help one another."



Trecile said about half of the Haitian police force was working with the rest caught up in the disaster and trying to help their families. At least 50 policemen were dead, he said.



"The priorities for those of us working is to help control the vehicles in the street, distribute food, look for bodies, and protect the gas stations," he said in the interview at a police base near the airport where Haitian President Rene Preval is based after the partial collapse of the presidential palace.



As a former soldier, Trecile has lived through plenty in Haiti, from the fall of governments to the passage of hurricanes. "I've never seen anything like this, in all my years," he said, shaking his head.



He and other officials said they were grateful for the help of U.N. peacekeepers already stationed here and U.S. military personnel arriving in droves.



"We are working well together," he said. "We really need them."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week