Police Disperses “Peaceful” Protesters at #OccupyWestfield

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EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Officers of The Gambia Police Force division of Police Intervention Unit (PIU), has dispersed a group of people who called for a “peaceful” assembly against the country’s water and electricity power house, Nawec.

The protesters, with the slogan #OccupyWestfield, where earlier denied permit by the police to conduct the assembly until last Friday when a written approval was issued to them with conditions.

But earlier on Saturday, the permit was revoked with the police calling the decision as strategic security advice.

In a video shared on facebook at the ground at Westfield, security officers could be seen having confrontation with some of the organisers of the assembly, asking them to vacate the ground.

Office of the Inspector General of Police granted permission for the peaceful assembly with condition that only a Public Address System (PAS) must be used during the gathering and will be only restricted between NAWEC and DHL feeder road between 3 to 4pm.

The police also said the gathering must be conducted only within the time given in the approved letter. “This is an act to make sure the voices of descent are not trampled,” a voice was quoted from the heard. The man also called it as unfair for the police to issue permit for the gathering and all of a sudden to revoke it.

Since the defeat of Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh and his going into exile in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in January, the country’s power house has been crippling with erratic power and water supply failure. This led to a public outcry but it is not certain whether it was a deliberate act by the new government to reduce expenditure but it is causing the government a huge loss of revenue.

In the earlier approved permit, the police also urged that the gathering must be conducted within the limits of the law and no derogatory words or remarks should be addressed to anybody that may eventually lead to the breach of peace. “Failure to comply will result in the revocation of this permit and may lead to criminal prosecution.

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