A planned demonstration against the current electricity and water supply shortages dubbed #OccupyWestfield could not take place yesterday after police refused permission for the demo.
According to the organizers in a meeting with Interior minster Mai Fatty, the protest was planned against the National Water and Electricity Company and was meant to be peaceful. The organizers also maintained that the protest is not associated with any political party interest.
However Minister Fatty has informed the organisers that the country’s security situation is still fragile. He posted on Facebook that he was joined by colleague Minister of Energy Mr Fafa Sanyang, National Security Adviser Mr Momodou Badjie, Nawec MD Baba Fatajo and others to meet the organisers and made them understand that the times are still uncertain when it comes to the security of the homeland. “They have spoken and government will work with them on the issue, in the best interest of the country,” he said.
Fatty further stressed that the presence of riot police at the scene Sunday was to prevent people bent on causing trouble from doing so. “The need for security presence at Westfield is based on credible intelligence against those who intend to undermine our peace and derail the ongoing fruitful dialogue. It is merely preventive to deter those who planned to create unlawful distractions, contrary to the declared intentions of organisers of #OccupyWestfield, and not meant to escalate tensions. The path to honest negotiations/constructive dialogue, is the new Gambian way, not brutality or confrontation,” Fatty said.
Similarly the Police also said after a thorough and careful review of the permit request, they have decided not to grant the request for protest because it will likely cause the breach of the peace.
Meanwhile there are have been mixed reactions from Gambians on the issue while some suggested that the authorities should have allowed the organisers to go ahead with the demo, others said that it was unnecessary.