31.2 C
City of Banjul
Saturday, May 25, 2024
spot_img
spot_img

Peaceful protests

- Advertisement -

The past few weeks have been very busy in the Gambia. One issue that dominated headlines was the poor ferry services. One of the ferries, Kanilai, developed an engine problem mid sea and drifted off being carried away by the waves. Passengers were stranded and traumatized. So were their loved ones.

Besides, the ferry was full of vehicles which were to cross to the other bank. The drivers and owners of these vehicles had to leave their vehicles on the ferry and go home after small canoes were arranged to evacuate passengers. It was unfortunate that some of these vehicles were carrying perishable goods.

Many youth organizations, mainly Niumi Hands Association, raised concerns and expressed their desire to go out on a peaceful protest. They wrote and applied for a permit to protest on 21 April so as to bring to the notice of the authorities the difficulties the people of Lower Niumi, and indeed the North Bank Region, go through due to the poor ferry services.

- Advertisement -

Likeminded associations expressed the desire to go out and show solidarity to Niumi Hands. These included the National Youth Parliament and Gambia Participates. Preparations were in high gear therefore and the plan was that while Niumi Hands would hold a procession in Barra, National Youth Parliament and Gambia Participates will do so in Banjul.

The leadership of Niumi Hands was invited to a meeting with government officials where they met the ministers of Information and Works. Also present was the Chief of Staff and the Mayor of Banjul. Discussions went on for a while and demands were made. The Government promised to meet those demands.

The Gambia Police Force however denied the applicants a permit to protest. This was conveyed to the general membership of Niumi Hands that there would be no peaceful protest. They informed that Niumi Hands will continue to find other ways to express their frustrations over the poor services of the ferry.

- Advertisement -

On the day the protest was to be held, a few young people – both in Barra and Banjul – went out to have a sit-down strike at the Arch and Barra Terminal. Twelve of these were arrested by the Gambia Police Force but were later released and told to report to the station on Monday 22 April 2024.

Protest is one of the avenues available to ordinary citizens to show their concerns. The democratic space should be made available so that officials can be held to account.

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img