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Sunday, June 16, 2024
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POLICE, VENDORS CLASH OVER DEMOLITION AT BRIKAMA MARKET

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By Tabora Bojang

There have been heavy clashes between police and vendors at the Brikama market yesterday over the demolition of stalls by members of the ‘Operation Clear the Roads’ team on one hand and officials of the Brikama Area Council on the other. 

The council, headed by opposition UDP chairman Yankuba Darboe, has condemned aspects of the operation as “wanton” destruction of properties of poor Gambians trying to etch a livelihood. It also accused the operation of unnecessarily targeting vendors and undermining the BAC for political reasons.

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The operation’s team has denied this, maintaining it has a duty to clear the roads of all obstructions anywhere without discrimination. 

The council had advised vendors not to voluntarily bring down their own structures as it intends to sue the demolishers.

Yesterday, as the team got to work near the market, chaos erupted as angry vendors and some members of the public sympathetic to the vendors clashed with the police who fired tear gas to disperse the angry crowd.

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A journalist covering the melee reported seeing dozens of people including students and BAC chairman Yankuba Darboe seeking medical attention from the effects of the tear gas.  He said a medical laboratory nearby was deserted as waiting patients fled from the effects of tear gas. The streets were also seen littered with goods from demolished stalls.

The BAC chairman Yankuba Darboe accused the police of violating their oath and reported he was going to police anti-crime unit to secure the release of people detained there.

Police spokesman, Modou Musa Sisawo, confirmed several arrests have been made but said he did not have much details.

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