Police Public Relations Officer Inspector Foday Conta yesterday disclosed to The Standard that the permit requested by the opposition APRC was for them to celebrate the birth of the party.
“However the date requested for the event to take place is July 22, and our investigations revealed that the APRC as a party was actually formed on August 23 and not July 22,”Inspector Conte said.
Asked if in the event that the party requested for the permit on August 23 it will be granted, Inspector Conta said: “We cannot comment or speculate on that as nothing like that is on out table so far. What is on our table so far is that an application has been received from the APRC to celebrate the birth of the party and they intend to do that on July 22. Let me make it clear again that we have not yet made a decision on the request as it is currently at management level,” Conta stressed.
When The Standard contacted the APRC on the nature of the permit requested, party spokesman Seedy Njie said APRC will not comment on anything dealing with the permit application until they get an official response from the police.
Meanwhile the government of The Gambia over the weekend issued a statement that no permit was issued to any person acting on behalf of the APRC to celebrate July 22 as was reported in The Standard.
The release stated: “The Gambia government maintains that the 1994 coup was an illegal act, staged principally, to usurp power and subvert the popular will of the Gambian people who fought through their sweat and blood to establish and nurture a democratic culture for 30 years that became an envy of the whole world.
Memories are still fresh of the brutality that the July 22nd coup brought on Gambians. Families were torn apart; innocent citizens willfully killed; businesses unlawfully closed and so many of The Gambia’s most experienced and finest brains forced to flee the country because of the organised and systematic abuse of their fundamental rights. Notwithstanding its unwavering position to respect and broaden democratic principles and personal freedoms of citizens, the government of The Gambia maintains that the July 22nd coup still leaves painful reminders of torture, unexplained disappearances, killings and plunder of state resources. This day therefore should not in any way be glorified, hailed or celebrated by any well-meaning Gambian.
Furthermore, the government of The Gambia warns that any public gathering which requires a public address system needs a police permit. It is on record that the Inspector General of Police has not issued any such permit to authorize any individual, political party or any other group to hold festive celebrations of the July 22nd 1994 coup.
The general public is therefore warned to be law abiding and follow due process especially in matters related to public safety and national security and to avoid anything that may endanger national security.”