The United Democratic Party is deeply concerned about the overzealous response of Gambia’s security forces to court goers who have peacefully converged at the High Court in Banjul to demand the unconditional release of UDP leader and his co accused.
The crowds were then assaulted by members of the security forces including the discharge of firearms causing numerous injuries. The UDP is assessing the situation to determine whether there are any fatalities.
The Gambian people will remain steadfast in their fight for freedom, justice and democracy using all the lawful means available to them. The shedding of innocent blood will not deter our March to freedom and we serve notice that it is the inherent right of every citizen to defend themselves from the excesses of a tyranny that poses an existential threat to our nation and its people.
For the first time since the court case started, we have seen a combined group of police and the army deployed in the streets blocking all roads leading to the court.
The army that has no training in crowd control, has been principally overzealous splitting court goers into smaller groups while barricading others making it difficult for the crowd to move around. This situation has led to angry scenes causing some fracas.
The Gambia government is deliberately embarking on a course of orchestrated violence against unarmed protesters exercising their right to movement and assembly and would bear full responsibility for the consequences of their illegal actions.
Some arrests have already been made and some women were also assaulted. The UDP has documented a series of serious injuries from assault by the security forces. This provocative actions of the security forces is unacceptable.
The UDP wishes to alert the international community particularly member countries of ECOWAS of this escalating situation. The UDP will hold the Gambia government responsible for any causality.
We absolutely condemn the unprovoked violence directed at unarmed civilians who gathered to show solidarity at the court hearing of lawyer Ousainou Darboe and his colleagues in Banjul today May 9th 2016. The government deployed army, police, paramilitary, NIA and Immigration personnel to obstruct the movement of people to and from the venue of the hearings.
Let all Gambians of conscience stand together and fight for a country that is not predatory, oppressive and violent toward the citizenry that constitute it.
Issued by UDP