The much talked about protest planned by the #DAFADOY (Enough is Enough) movement went ahead peacefully yesterday when hundreds of protesters assembled at Westfield to denounce what they called a slow sliding back to the days of dictatorship.
The group said they are protesting against police brutality, corruption, arbitrary arrests and environmental destruction amongst others.
“We are a collection of young Gambian activists united in our quest to tackle problems facing Gambians and we must speak up and stand for the truth and we cannot sit around and just look as mere spectators,” said #OccupyWestfield leader, Alieu Bah.
Bah further stated that their campaign is to manifest their dissatisfaction and frustration with the government of the day and make them realize that everyone fought for this democracy and democracy can only be realized by the people who votedthem into office.
He decried the fact that the government displayed “a total disregard” to what people have fought for. “The regime of this transitional government is rocked by allegation of corruption, complete disregard of due process and institutional failure.”
Bah seized the opportunity to emphasize that the campaign is not solely based on the horrific events in Faraba Banta, but it seeks to address all the grievances of the Gambian people.
He then called on Gambian authorities to drop charges leveled against Gunjur activists who are standing trial at Brikama Magistrates Court and to return the cemetery to the people of Taneneh in Gunjur.
For his part, Gambian famous rapper Killa Ace, said what Gambia’s fought against yesterday should not be applied today because people voted for change and will never allow anyone to destroy that and no going back to dictatorship.
“We are increasing the victims toll in the New Gambia,” he deplored.
Madi Jobarteh, a leading civil society activist and deputy executive director of Tango, described the protest as ‘very significant’ action by the citizens for the first time in the history of the country.
He said the purpose of the government is to ‘protect’, fulfill’ and ‘respect’ the human rights of Gambians as stated in the constitution.
Over these past months, activists have been at loggerheads with the authorities over the way foreign corporate bodies are destroying the environment, posing a real threat to people’s livelihoods. Local communities in Gunjur, Sanyang, Kartong, Taneneh and Faraba Banta have stood firm against the disturbing way their environment is being
Security personnel were at the scene as the protest kicks-off. This is the first of its kind in the history of The Gambia when citizens protest against the state without any physical interference by the Government.