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Cops launch investigation into protest placards following call by Rowley; Moonilal disagrees

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

A POLICE investigation has been launched into the issue of people bearing placards with racist slogans, acting Superintendent Joanne Archie has said.
Supt Balram, of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Services’ (TTPS) Port of Spain Division, has been appointed as lead investigator into the matter, Archie said yesterday.
Archie made the statements in a telephone conversation with the Express.
On Tuesday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley called on acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to launch an investigation into the issue of people bearing placards with racist slogans, citing a breach of the Sedition Act that threatens this country’s social stability.
Last Friday, the Joint Trade Un­on Movement (JTUM) held a mass demonstration through the streets of Port of Spain entitled “It’s time to take a stand for Trinidad and Tobago”.
The Opposition People’s Nation­al Movement (PNM), led by its political leader, Rowley, participated in the march.
Photographs of people wearing red jerseys, holding placards bearing “racist” statements were posted on social-networking sites on Friday.
The demonstrators were said to have been a part of the JTUM demonstration.
Rowley distanced the PNM and the JTUM demonstration from the racist slogans.
He said the people with the racist placards were near the Parliament building where supporters of the Uni­ted National Congress (UNC) held a pro-Government demonstration.
Rowley called on the police to retrieve video footage from the Parliament building and investigate the matter.
He said the police must not only prosecute those who held the placards but also those who planned the strategy.
Archie could not confirm if Willi­ams’ launching of the investigation was based on the calls made by Row­ley.
“I cannot say if it is as a result of the call (by Rowley); all the information he (Williams) has given me is, ‘Yes, I have immediately launched an investigation into the matter and an investigator has been appointed,’” Archie said.
According to Section 11 of the Sedition Act, Chapter 11:04, prose­cution of an offence must begin with­in 12 months after it was committed.
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