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Cement importers’ protesters released

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By Amadou Jadama

The Cement Importers and Traders Association has confirmed that police have released two of their members arrested Thursday while holding a protest at the National Assembly. It said the men were released on bail but are not charged. 

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Sheikh Cham, an executive member of the association and one of the arrested members, said they applied for a permit to demonstrate three times but they were rejected on all occasions.

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He said the protest at the National Assembly was staged peacefully but, on their way, back home, some people including police officers wanted to have their T-shits and after giving them, they arrested one Omar who was distributing the shirts.

“Another of our members Alhagie Mbye who came to see us at the station was detained,” he said.

On the vexed issue of the tax on cement coming across the border, Mr Cham said the policy is not only intended to take them out of business for others to have monopoly but it also risks a broader trade conflict with Senegal, a crucial partner supplying electricity, construction materials, and security for the Gambia.

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“The government is wrongly advised,” he said.

Mr Cham said even after the much-celebrated arrival of a cement vessel by Jah Oil claiming that the country is flooded with cement, the company’s trucks were seen across the border to Senegal to get cement.

“’So why the double standard when both of us are getting cement from Senegal?” he asked.

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