Saturday, August 24, 2019

‘Activista’ Calls For Unfettered Access To Permit When Demanded By Protesters

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‘Activista’, a global youth network in the Gambia, has called for unfettered access to permits from the office of the Inspector General of Police of the Gambia Police Force (GPF) instead of refusing such, for citizens to exercise their rights according to the Constitution of the Republic. The network equally condemned the burning down of the compound of the Commissioner of the Anti-Crime Unit (ACU), by a group of mob.

In a press release issued by the Network, it condemned the action of the office of the IGP in denying citizens of their constitutional rights to peaceful assembly leading to the unrest t in Brikama. It stated: “We equally condemn the burning down of the compound of the Commissioner of the Anti-Crime Unit.” The network believes that action is “uncalled for,” adding that the perpetrators of this act must be held accountable for their actions. “Mob justice has no place in the Gambia and we urge young people to follow due process in addressing their grievances and avoid taking the Law into their own hands,” the release indicated. The network pointed out citizens’ responsibility towards maintaining peace in consonance to their actions which should be in accordance with the Law.

They urged young people to follow the due process of the law in exercising civic duties. The release urged Government to ensure the security apparatus is well trained and equipped to perform their duties effectively within a democracy, by maintaining discipline and restraint at all cost.

Furthermore, the release outlined the need for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to desist from suppressing the rights of citizens to peaceful assembly and provide whenever required, their protection to peaceful protests. The Network talk of the importance of Civic Education and Civil Society Organisations and urged concerned Gambians to step in and enlighten the public on due process and how to hold duty bearers accountable through advocacy and positive engagements.

The Network also indicated in their release that they have monitored with great concern, series of unrelated protests that went violent in Brikama, Kerr Serign and Serekunda on the 24th July 2019;

that their findings proved that the Majority of the people involved in the protests were mostly young people who were expressing their grievances with duty bearers within their respective jurisdictions.

‘‘As a Youth-Led Organisation, we are deeply concern with the approach and the outcomes of these incidences.

The protest in Brikama was organised by the #OccupyBAC to manifest their dismay and dissatisfaction with the poor service delivery from the Brikama Area Council. The Movement has applied for a permit that was denied by the Office of the IGP. Chaos ensued as the protesters went out to the streets without a permit and PIU officers used teargas to disperse them leading to reported injuries and subsequent arrests of scores of protesters including women. On an unrelated incident, the youths stormed the Headquarters of the Anti-Crime Unit in Bijilo condemning the alleged Killing of a 33 years old Ousman Darboe who was reportedly arrested, detained and later released on bail. The protest led to the burning of the Commissioner, Anti-Crime Unit, Goorgi Mboob’s family house.

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