By Amadou Jadama
The chairman of Operation 3 Years Jotna has accused the police of suppressing their rights after they were stopped from holding a fundraising programme Friday.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday at his residence in Tallinding, Abdou Njie expressed his group’s disappointment over the action of the police describing it as a total violation of rights.
He said on Friday some police officers appeared at the venue of their planned fund raising event at the Semega Janneh Hall and asked for the executive members of the Movement. “The executive members were immediately notified about the presence of the uniformed security team and they responded quickly to the call.
“Upon arrival, we were told by the police that we should immediately stop all our preparations for the fund raising event because we did not have any permit to do so. We asked them why. They said it was an order from the top. We consider that to be a very veiled explanation and not a genuine reason to call off such an elaborately arranged programme. But they ordered us to stop the event immediately and go and apply for a police permit. We insisted that we have to go ahead with our programme because we have never seen anyone before who applied for a permit for organising a fund raising event and we went ahead with our preparations,” Njie said.
He said later, a bigger police convoy arrived who imm
ediately surrounded the venue and started closing all doors and stopping people from entering the venue.
‘We were very disappointed and surprised by this action. This is not only unfair but also unbecoming of a police force in a democratic state especially because no one has ever been asked to get a permit to hold a concert for fund raising.
The Operation 3 Years Jotna believes that this is a clear abuse of power and complete violation of our right to hold an entertainment fund raising event.
“Therefore, we totally condemn this action in the strongest terms by the police to sabotage the movement’s fund raising event.
We stand united against abuse of power with impunity and we will definitely explore all avenues and we will not let this incident go unnoticed. We will take all necessary actions needed to seek a redress for this unacceptable action by the Gambia Police Force against us. We believe Gambia belongs to all of us. Peace and stability of the country should be everyone’s interest”, Njie said.
He added that the police whose job is to keep the peace should not themselves choose lawlessness by provoking citizens by denying them their rights to peaceful assembly and association. “Peace cannot be achieved when you deny human beings their god-given rights,” Njie added.
The Standard contacted the police for their side of the story but the PRO said they will come with a statement on the matter today Monday.