What happen in the Brikama town when protesters were trying to reach the Brikama Area Council to deliver their concerns and the incidents at the Serekunda markets are the outcome of police denials of a request for a peaceful demonstration by some citizens of the country?
There is room for citizens to express their feelings, either by way of speech, written or actions; by peaceful means in the laws of the land.
Why is it that anytime citizens apply for a permit to peacefully protest such permits are refuse by the police? These acts tantamount to the suppression some fundamental human rights.
In other countries citizens only had to inform the police of a peaceful protest and they the police will provide security for the protection of the protesters and that of the people. That is not the case in the Gambia.
What happen in Brikama and in some other parts of the country is an outcome of the police refusals to grant them the permit to go ahead with their peaceful protest. Subsequently what happen later should be the responsibility of the security forces.
If the police had granted the Brikama protesters with a permit and provided them with security, they would have peacefully reach the Brikama Area Council and present their demands without any hitches.
Unfortunately even before the 24th July when the protesters made their intentions clear that they were going on a peaceful protest the police were negative about the whole thing and there were some pronouncements in the local papers and in the social media that the police cannot stop the protest. So in essence, that is where the antagonism started.
The police could have averted the friction and the firing of tear gas on these peaceful protesters easily by granting them permit which is their fundamental rights.
The peaceful protests that had happen in the Gambia in the last few years easily turned violent only after police interventions.
The late Solo Sandeng’s case , was very peaceful from Bambo right through the streets of Serekunda past the busy Serekunda market up to wellfield; when the police confronted them with heavy hands causing serious wounds and eventually the death of late Solo.
In April of 2000, the student protest over the maltreatment of a student who died under police custody in Brikama in the hands of the Fire Services was also as a results of police handling of issues. That protest had resulted to the killing of 12 students and a journalist Omar Barrow.
One wonders if our men in uniforms are giving the right trainings or not. As the riots were all over last Wednesday the police graduated 35 police in the area of anti-terrorism, bank robbery and other skills but yet police performance is poor when it comes to crown management.
The Daily News calls the attention of the police to the provision of permits to peaceful protesters as required by our laws and provide security. There should not be any restrains of the issuances of permit for peaceful protests as it is the constitutional rights of citizens to go on a peaceful protest.
Yes there is another commission to look into the circumstances of the death of one Ousman Darboe alleged to have being killed by a section of the police called the anti-crime unit. In the same week another alleged killing by the police was the case of a University student called kebba Secka.
The Daily News hopes that, the findings of this particular commission will have the urgent attention of the President in its implementations.