By Omar Bah
UDP leader Ousainu Darboe has advised his supporters to stay home and allow the party leadership to investigate concerns raised over the results of the presidential election won by Adama Barrow.
Mr Darboe and Mamma Kandeh of the GDC have rejected the results claiming they would first have to investigate issues raised by the agents.
Since that day, thousands have been gathering daily at his Pipeline residence protesting the results and yesterday, the crowds were visited by riot police resulting in tense stand off.
The standoff degenerated into a riot with police resorting to throwing teargas to disperse crowds. Video footages emerged on social media of further clashes with police in other areas in Pipeline and Bakau. Several UDP supporters were seen loaded on a police Pick-up car taking them from the scene.
The scenes sparked fear and anxiety with many Gambians condemning the violence and calling on party leaders to urge their supporters to stay calm and follow the legal process.
In Brikama, a brief tensed situation erupted between NPP celebrants and UDP supporters at Nana- Junction before police intervened to disperse the two groups peacefully. Elsewhere, in the Greater Banjul Area, police kept regular patrols and random check points to separate rival supporters throughout the night on main highways.
In the heat of the standoff, Mr Darboe came from his house to address the crowd: “We are collecting our evidence and at the end of the day, if our lawyers advise us that there is a case to present in court, we will present it in court. I can assure you that I have not signed anything and I will not sign anything,” he told supporters.
Darboe added: “If we reject President Barrow’s victory, we should follow the laws to seek redress and I don’t advise any of you to go out and protest because I don’t want any of you here to die because of politics.”
He expressed delight that his supporters are celebrating despite him losing the election. “It shows your maturity because if others lose elections, they cry but you people are demonstrating your maturity. We are in a tourist season and if something bad happens in this country the tourists will leave and it is our sons and daughters who are working in the industry who will lose their jobs and I don’t want that. So, I urge all supporters to follow the law. We will be updating you of any development. I want you to be assured that I will not disappoint you because you have never disappointed me. You should all remember that this is our country and none of us will want to go to exile,” he said.
“I urge the police to stay away from the UDP supporters because they are not rioting. In fact, it is good that supporters of a losing candidate are celebrating. I urge the IGP to ask his personnel to stay away from our supporters,” he said.
Meanwhile, UDP supporters and officials condemned the police for using teargas on people at the party leader’s house.
The party’s media reported last night that twelve people were treated in hospital of teargas effect.