Cabinet calls for calm days after anti-government protesters clash with police

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: President Adama Barrow has presided over an emergency cabinet session on Thursday, four days after a press group, 3 Years Jotna clashed with the police in an anti-government protest.

The special session was convened to discuss the Sunday mishap that led to several people sustaining injuries as police fire teargas to disperse the crowds. Government has now considered banning the group.

The 3 Years Jotna group has been pressuring President Barrow to respect the three years mandate agreement he had with the Coalition 2016 political party leaders and step aside for a fresh election.

Information and Communication Minister, Ebrima Sillah said the cabinet session called for calm and reinforced government’s commitment to democratic principles that it consider as “sacred.”

“The government has called on all Gambian people to remain calm and assure them that the situation is under complete control.”

The Sunday protest, which sparked a wave of panic within Serrekunda and the surrounding environment, saw a heavy confrontation between members of the group and the paramilitary in a violent manner. Several people sustained injuries while scores were arrested, including four journalists who were release earlier on Tuesday.

Two radio stations were also shut down in the wake of the protest, with government claiming that they were reporting the protest with acts of inciting violence. The radio stations are still closed with personnel of the police intervention unit stationed there.

The country’s journalist trade union, Gambia Press Union is continuing to put pressure on the government to reopen the closed-down radio stations and urged the Inspector General of Police to immediately withdraw his men from the radio stations, who have been installed there since Sunday.

“We want to assure the international community of our sacred duty to be committed to democratic principles and that Gambia government will continue to be engaged in those sacred principles,” information minister Sillah said.

He said Gambia is a calm and peaceful country, extending government’s appeal to the people to give it the support in that direction to ensure that they sustain the peace in the country.

On Wednesday, eight members of the pressure group were arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Kanifing on charges of unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation and rioters demolishing structures.

But Magistrate P. Sarr transferred the case to the Special Criminal Court in the capital, Banjul following an application by Police prosecutor MB Mballow for the transfer, arguing that the court lacks the jurisdiction to try the case.

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