Monday, January 22, 2018

Police warn protesters: 'We will arrest you'

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

However, no one would be allowed to break the law and get away with it.

So says a senior police officer as he appealed to Moruga protesters to clear the roads. He suggested that residents of Sixth Company Circular Road, New Grant, visit their Member of Parliament seeking redress.

The officer said the four-day protest was not being conducted within the confines of the law and people can be arrested.

He said the protesters were blocking the free flow of traffic. And according to the Riot Act, he said, it was illegal for more than two persons to gather in a particular area.

Admitting that the roads were in a bad state, the officer said residents were under the influence of alcohol which caused the protest to become disruptive.

He said four areas along the roadway were blocked with burning tyres and debris making it difficult for officers.

“As soon as the officers remove the debris from one area and move to the next the residents would come and start it up again. So it is difficult for the officers to man all the areas at the same time,” he said.

The officer said the crowds were large and far outnumbered police officers.

“The people have a right to express their concerns but it must be done within the confines of the law. We will arrest anyone found breaking the law,” he said.

On Wednesday, the officer used a fire hose to douse residents in an attempt to clear the blockaded road.

The residents clashed with police officers as they attempted to remove the burning tyres.

Councillor Michelle Benjamin  said the residents were singing and chanting to protest poor road conditions in the community when the officer turned on the hose and sprayed them.

The officer said the residents were acting violently and prevented other people, some of whom live in the area, from getting to their homes.