Helicopters roared overhead and armored personnel carriers rumbled down capital streets as the army deployed across Jamaica to quell three days of politically charged violence that police said killed at least 20 people.
"The government cannot stand idly by and allow criminal elements to hold this country to ransom," Prime Minister P.J. Patterson told reporters after ordering the entire army into the countryside.
Immediately after his announcement, the show of force was most visible in the capital, Kingston.
Politicians from the government and the opposition have accused one another of incitement ahead of elections due by next year.