EYEAFRICA TV: Serrekunda, The Gambia: National Assembly member for Serrekunda has asked Gambia government to improve on its actions towards citizens when protests occur, saying it cannot punish few people for a crime that is committed by many.
Halifa Sallah said if thousand people protest, it will be hard to get hold of all of them at spot and put them in jail. “What the police can do is to follow and arrest them one by one. But they must avoid punishing few for a crime that many committed. We must feed our minds with knowledge and wisdom if we have to make a head way.”
Addressing young people and elders during the burial of Ousman Darboe who was alleged to have died after he was manhandled by police Anti-Crime Unit, Mr. Sallah said it will be a defeat of purpose if tax payers’ money that should be spent to provide medicine in hospitals and build schools is diverted to rebuild institutions that are damaged during protests.
“We must be aware that we can use fire to cook nice and delicious food, but equally when fire burns, it can perish everything that one toiled to have in the whole of his life, in just one hour.”
He said government has power and the people too have power but if there is no one to direct both powers, their destruction will be like that of fire.
In July, a protest ensued Serrekunda by a group of young people who say they were demanding justice for the death of the 36-year-old man Ousman Darboe, whose death they believe was as a result of brutality meted on him by officers of the police Anti-Crime Unit.
Thirty-seven youth, including singer and rights activist Killa Ace are currently on trial for their alleged involvement in the protest. Police have leveled an eight-count charge against them, including conspiracy to commit a felony, unlawful assembly and prohibition of conduct conducive to breaches of peace.
Last Tuesday, Magistrate Elizabeth Dunn ordered for them to remain in Police custody until tomorrow when the case will resume.