Screen_shot_2011-06-01_at_7.53.45_PMThe following story is quite frankly one of the most disturbing we have ever carried. As we understand it this morning in a pre-dawn operation members of the Belize Police Department and a team of workers affiliated with Port Loyola Area Representative descended on a group of families and without warning began destroying their homes. The explanation the government will undoubtedly use is that they were squatters, but in our book there is no excuse for what happened next. Our affiliate from Belize City, journalist Carla Bradley, called in the following report and submitted pictures of what happened.

Carla Bradley Reporting

“When we got to the site about seven in the morning, we say people gathered around the entrance to the housing area, according to the government they are known as illegal squatters, these people have been living there between five to ten years now and these are areas that most Belizeans wouldn’t even want to go live in because of the swamps and these people have no choice but to go and live there and they built makeshift homes even though they are little shacks to them it is their home. When we got there, there were about ten structures damaged some were completely toured down. When I spoke to some of the families this morning I was told that they were waken about four this morning the police had come with their hammers and started dismantling their houses with them inside and that if they did not come out they would continue breaking down the house. One house was left alone because kids were inside and they refused to moves but the other houses were completely destroyed. Plywood was stolen sink and even furniture’s were stolen. Now this is at 4:00am when kids are sleeping, mothers are getting ready to get their kids to schools, preparing their uniforms and cooking for their husbands and then to be waken with this stuff. There was one lady who has child that suffers from asthma who is about two years old that kid was out there really sick because of the dust. Kids were crying most if them did not go to school and most of the people did not go to work. They blocked off the area by burning debris so the police could not come in but the police did get in and then they started pushing the people back. They were very calm but the people were arguing for them to put themselves in their shoes. These people today have nowhere to go they have no home.”

According to reports, there was no warning given to the residents before the Police and other members of the team descended upon them.

Carla Bradley Reporting

“It was a surprise when they came in the people asked them for a warrant or something or a court order and they said they were sent by Government and they were only doing their job. They had no proof of who sent them. We know that for the past couple of months they have wanted these people out of the land but they have nowhere to go and they are not offering them any alternative so they have nowhere else to go.”

Screen_shot_2011-06-01_at_7.57.49_PMAnd that was what happened early this morning, but that was only the beginning. The victims of the state-sanctioned attack gathered at the Belcan Bridge for a peaceful protest, but with the level of anger present and the aggression of the Police, the peace didnt last long.

Carla Bradley Reporting

“They had gathered in the middle of the bridge they were protesting very peacefully the kids had their placards and the Belizean Flag was flying proud and high. The police were called out we had the Dragon Unit, the B.D.F, the Police Department and other arms of the defence force out there. Mr Grinage came and told them that it was an illegal protest so they had to move and the people did not move because they were doing it peacefully and that is when confrontation began. The kids were pushed back, some of the kids were hurt, one was dragged to the floor, another was manhandled by a police officer, kids were ripped apart from their parents and women were pushed back as well. They had two or three arrest this morning out there. There were roughly about sixty persons out there this morning and they were doing a peaceful protest and one kept saying that other persons have conducted protest without any permit and no one used that type of force on them so why do it to them.”

No government officials were present on the Belcan Bridge today, but Leader of the Opposition John Briceno, Senior Deputy Party Leader Cordel Hyde, Deputy Leader Carolyn Trench-Sandiford and PUP Legal Advisor Anthony Sylvester were at the scene meeting with the devastated families and trying to find a resolution to the problem. Well have more on that in tomorrows newscast.

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