Tax Hike Protesters Barricade Roads
Jamaicans protesting tax hikes blocked major roads with burning barricades of tires and furniture, defying police who fired warning shots and tear gas. At least six people were reported killed in the riots. Violent protests have swept the Caribbean island since the government announced $100 million in new taxes Friday. But Prime Minister P.J. Patterson indicated late Wednesday that his government is ready to back down from a 30% increase in fuel prices. In Parliament, Patterson named a chairman to a special committee that he said could recommend “a rollback” of the new taxes. The announcement appeared likely to calm the unrest, which prompted several airlines and three cruise ships to cancel trips to Jamaica. The country attracts nearly 2 million tourists yearly, mainly from the United States.
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