COPG condemns police arrest of protesters



By Sheriff Saidykhan 

Following the recently called off protests by disgruntled commuters and passengers using the ferry services from Banjul to Barra, the Coalition of Progressive Gambians (COPG) have condemned the arrest of protesters. 

“We wish to convey our solidarity with the people affected and those who wanted to express their civic rights and also condemn the move by the security forces to arrest those who came to protest without ill will but to express their rights and voice out their problem,” the release said

The group reminded the powers that be; of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ slogan, saying the country will not be plunge back to oppressive rule.

“We want to remind the government, the National Assembly and security forces that when Gambians pronounced NEVER AGAIN and pursued change, they wanted to realize a reliable system change. Gambians never expected to slide back into the oppressive and brutal regime that led this country for two decades,” according to the release.

The group further called on the government of President Adama Barrow to repeal the 1997 constitution and the Public Order Act causing human rights violations.

“The total repeal of the 1997 constitution and the Public Order Act, must be the basis of a reliable system change. It's rather unfortunate that the issues that President Adama Barrow put to the Gambians in 2016 included a total overhaul of the system and particularly the Public Order Act which was the cause of a lot of human rights violations in the country, the deposing of the former president and the election of President Adama Barrow to office. Therefore if Gambians are treated with honesty and respect, this Public Order Act would have been in the trash. The government needs to be reminded of the pledges to the international community and organisations to repeal the Public Order Act, in their effort to erase the negative policies that traumatized a lot of Gambians,” the release said.

The release added: “The Coalition of Progressive Gambians therefore urge government particularly the Ministry of Interior and the IGP to desist from intimidating and arresting Gambians for the right to peaceful protests a right guaranteed by the constitution. If government is on track why the fear of people out to express their civic rights? If accountability and transparency are the order of the day, there would have been no need to fear for a peaceful protest. In the age of info technological advancement only a fool thinks there are hideouts for corruption as ignorance is a choice in this era. No more are Gambians ignorant of the current issues that affect and shape their future. The current global situations have rejuvenated consciousness in the minds of a good number of Gambians and no longer will they be fiddled with intimidations and petty inducements. The National Assembly and Local Government Elections have attested to this. A lot of Gambians have been traumatized by the provisions of the Public Order Act and must be immediately repealed as President Adama Barrow himself has experienced the intimidations of this Act” the release concluded.


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