By Tabora Bojang
A group of Gambians identifying themselves as ‘Coalition of Progressives’ has sent a request to the Inspector General of Police yesterday, asking for permission to stage a peaceful protest against current economic hardship, high cost of living, corruption and unemployment.
The letter, signed by one Seedy Cham, the chairman of the Coalition, said it is written on behalf of concerned citizens of the Gambia both home and abroad under the theme ‘stop the corruption.’
According to the letter, the group is against the “continuous price hike of essential basic commodities, high cost of fuel, the rampant corruption in the Barrow administration and the refusal of the National Assembly to pass the anti-corruption bill into law.
“We wish to start the procession from National Assembly building Banjul to McCarthy Square (formerly July 22nd Square), in Banjul, and other regions will also do it in the governors’ offices all between the hours of 10am to 6pm. Please note that a separate request is being made to the Banjul City Council for permission to use the venue and facilities of McCarthy Square for gathering and protest,” Chairman Cham told the IGP in his request.
The Group charged that the planned demonstration scheduled for November 11th 2022 is an exercise of its constitutional rights guaranteed in the 1997 Constitution and adherence to the Public Order Act.
Meanwhile, the group also condemned a statement by the police warning “the Arr Banjul Movement” to call off an ‘unauthorised protest’ which they planned to hold in the capital Monday because they were not issued permit. The protest however went ahead.
However, the Coalition of Progressives described the police statement as a “clear sign of dictatorship and a violation of human rights of the people in the exercise of their freedom of assembly to demonstrate against inefficiency and corrupt practices of the government.”
“We cannot continue to allow the Public Order Act to be used as a tool to enable corruption and mismanagement of public resources,” the Coalition of Progressives said in their letter.