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Residents of East Port-of-Spain cross Piccadilly Street onto Duke Street during yesterday’s protest.

Several rival gangs yesterday appeared united for a few hours to allow protests to take place across gang territories.

Port-of-Spain was quickly transformed into unrest yesterday morning, as residents from Morvant, Laventille and East Port-of-Spain set debris on fire.

At one point, gunmen were firing randomly through windows and from rooftops of apartment buildings on Nelson and Duncan Streets.

Several buildings, including business places and government buildings, were marred with bullet holes and neighbours ran for cover as bullets penetrated windows and doors.

Police and members of the Defense Force responded to several unrests in areas including Sea Lots, Beetham, Lady Young and Port-of-Spain in an attempt to restore order.

Police placed themselves along various entry points to Port-of-Spain, stopping motorists from entering the city citing safety and security risks. Some motorists say they were attacked while on the Beetham Highway, as their vehicles were stoned and damaged with foreign objects including glass bottles, wood and iron.

Many businesses in downtown Port-of-Spain shut their doors for the day, including banks, food outlets and MovieTowne at Invaders Bay.

Homeland Security and Safe City Operations Expert, Commander Garvin Heerah, said there was a need for better communication among law enforcement officer.

“Clear communication is always important but it’s especially crucial in the case of a crisis. Effective law enforcement communication can make the difference between keeping a handle on a situation or watching it spin out of control,” Heerah said.

“It’s essential for the TTPS to be able to communicate and coordinate effectively with other responding authorities. They must also have strong internal communications in order to get the situation under control and protect the public and the officers involved,” Heerah said.