Police and protestors on Sunday clashed at Corneila Ida, West Coast Demerara (WCD) where President David Granger was attending the Saraswati Vidya Niketan Graduation ceremony and dinner.
As a result of the incident, the News Room was told that two persons were arrested and placed in the Police van for approximately two hours before they were released.
Divisional Commander of Region Three (Essequibo Islands- West Demerara) Senior Superintendent, Linden Lord confirmed that two persons were taken into custody, however, he said they were not arrested but rather “two ring leaders were spoken to and they were sent away.”The President arrived at the location at about 16:15hrs where the Police had already set up barricades.
The protestors are part of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called the Association for Democracy and Human Rights Guyana.
Vikash Ramkissoon, a member of the NGO told the News Room via telephone that he was one of the persons taken into custody.
“They locked my right foot down, took away my phone, did not give me an explanation and keep me there for two hours and did not say a word to me…then one of the officers came and asked the rank to remove the thing from my right foot and asked me to go and take my car and go home,” the man said.
According to Ramkissoon, the situation escalated after the Police attempted to move the barricades farther from the venue and injured some protestors.
“One boy his foot is broken…we were holding a peaceful protest…when we went there in our numbers, they started to push the barricades towards us instead of asking us to move back for them to place their barricades and many persons were hurt,” he noted.
Supporters of the Government mounted a parallel protest and were reportedly allowed to go beyond the Police barricades.
(Vikash Ramkissoon video)
While the Divisional Commander said there was no physical altercation, in videos posted to Facebook, the Police could be seen in a scuffle with protestors.
Police officers were also seen removing black flags placed on utility poles by the protestors.
Additionally, persons attending the graduation ceremony were reportedly searched before entering the venue.
Commander Lord told the News Room that there were over 140 ranks at the location providing security to the President “as is customary.”
On September 19, one day after the Opposition wanted elections to be held, supporters and members of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) mounted a huge protest infront of the Pegasus Hotel where the President was delivering an address at an event hosted by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA). The protest ended up in the Savannah suite and interrupt the President’s address.
Since then, the Police have been placing barricades around venues where the President is slated to attend in order to avoid a recurrence.