By Alagie Manneh
The planned protest of the Coalition of Progressive Gambians will be staged in November despite a permit refusal by the police, the PRO of the group told The Standard.
The pressure group wrote to the police for permit to stage its protest on November 11, but the police replied that the protest cannot go ahead based on “security reasons”.
Reacting to the police missive in an expansive interview with The Standard yesterday, Lamin Bojang, the PRO, said: “We heard what the IGP has said, but we will re-apply for a permit even though that does not in any way indicate that we are cowards, or that we are afraid to come out on November 11. What we want is to follow all due process of the law since it is the responsibility of the police to protect citizens. Our second request for a permit to the IGP does not mean that the November 11 protest has been forfeited. That peaceful protest is already planned, and in the calendar. The IGP’s rejection did not affect that planned protest in any way, no. we will go out and protest come November.”
In rejecting the pressure group’s request letter, the IGP cited “security reasons,” but Mr Bojang said: “There’s no threat to a nation greater than citizens going to bed without food, waking up without breakfast and thinking where they will get the next meal. There’s no security threat greater than that. There’s no security threat greater than a citizen who gets sick and goes to a hospital but couldn’t get medicines; there’s no greater threat than a parent who spent his resources on the education of his children, yet the government did not provide employment or create the avenues for citizens to self-actualise.”
He added: “The so-called Public Order Act that is stifling citizens; that is not serving the interest of the Gambian people but the government and its inner circle, should be scrapped. We know that we are empowered by the constitution to go out and protest, peacefully. But the Public Order Act is being used to stifle citizens who want to express their rights when their governments are not governing the right way.”
He said the group was not surprised that its request for protest is denied.
Read more in Bantaba Friday.